Malaiya Jedkins valued the commitment of the Mc-Neese State University women’s track and field coaches.
Now the Navasota High School graduate is reciprocating.
The freshman has been a reliable performer in the jumps, sprints and relays during the indoor and outdoor seasons. “I was very surprised,” Jedkins said. “I came in so nervous.”
A pulled hamstring her senior year made some college coaches shy away from recruiting her, she said, though some renewed interest after she won the triple jump for Class 4A at the state meet. But it was too late for them. She didn’t waver in her allegiance to McNeese, which she said “stayed in contact. They never gave up on me.”
Indeed, the McNeese staff has taken care of her. She said she receives treatment three days a week to prevent re-injury and has competed regularly as a result. “They got me healthy,” she said. “My hamstrings are fine now.”
She has excelled in the triple jump, her specialty, and has placed in indoor and outdoor meets. She finished second and third in the event during April meets. Her sixth place at the Southland Conference outdoor championship scored for the team.
Her technique is much improved. “I had to do my approach,” said Jedkins, who also competes in the long jump. “I land now on my feet. I didn’t know how to do my phases. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
She has worked to be consistent in her approach, the running phase to the take-off board. Her jumping distance improves if she has the same plant foot each time. “I have so much speed coming in, I still have the problem,” she said.
For the other phases, she said, “You have to have a lot of abs and core to stay in the air.”
She has run the first leg of the 4-by-100-meter relay and helped it score by placing fourth at the conference outdoor championship. She was a part of the winning 4-by-100 when McNeese was host to March and April meets.
She has run every leg of the 4-by-400 relay, she said, and helped it score by finishing fifth at the conference indoor and outdoor championships. “I prefer the first leg,” she said. “I get out, and I stay out and maintain.”
Jedkins plans to devote her summer conditioning to building her core and getting “these legs stronger and faster.”
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org .