Not long ago, Emma Clark was just a wide-eyed middle schooler in the stands watching the 2A State Track and Field Championships at Middleton High.
Fast forward to today, the Melba girls track and field athlete was the star of the very same tournament. This season the sophomore laid claim to three state titles in the 100-meter dash, the triple jump and her personal favorite, pole vault.
For these achievements, Clark is the 2016-17 Idaho Press-Tribune’s Sports Stars Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“I remember going to state and watching it like it was yesterday,” Clark said. “I remember how cool it was and hoping someday day I would be the one out there on that track.
“So to see where I am now is surreal and such a blessing. All my hard work has paid off in ways I couldn’t have even imagined back then.”
Following a banner freshman year where she broke out onto the scene with state titles in the triple jump, long jump and pole vault, Clark came into this season with lofty expectations. She not only wanted to repeat in all those events, but make amends for the only event in which she didn’t win — the 100-meter dash.
In last year’s 2A 100-meter final, Clark had both her worst time and finish. She crossed the line at 13.49 seconds for a fifth-place finish.
But the 100-meters quickly turned into one of her best events this season, going from five to eight wins. In fact, Clark won all but one 100-meter race this season.
The lone race she didn’t win was at the 2A Western Idaho Conference meet on April 26. Clark was beaten by just 0.06 of a second to finish as runner-up. Instead of dwelling on the loss, she used it as motivation, and was never beaten again.