Le Sueur-Henderson senior William Clarke started jumping before he was born.
His mother, Charline, said she felt him kicking in her womb from day one. “It finally panned out for him to get the record.”
He has been jumping ever since and capped off his high school track and field career Friday in the state Class A championships by placing fourth in the triple jump.
A first-time state qualifier, Clarke broke his own school record of by inches with a hop, skip and jump of 43 feet, 7.5 inches in his first jump Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
LS-H senior Gabe Webster also saved his best state performance for his last meet. In his second time making state in the shot put, Webster moved up from seventh place (52-4) last year to third place this year with a throw of 54-00.25 in his final throw in the preliminary.
Breaking the record has been a goal of Clarke since the beginning the school year.
“Today it just happened, and I’m so proud of it,” Clarke said. “I usually do four events, but today I got to focus on one so I was able to put more energy into my jump, rather than being tired going back and forth.”
The competition was great at state, and Clarke said he deserved the medal he won.
“There’s a lot of great jumpers,” Clarke said. “I’m just happy to be in the top five.”
Clarke’s initial goal was to reach 44 feet at state, but he said he’s fine with 43-7.5.
Clarke,son of William, is moving on to Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato to major in psychology and run track. He also is a 200-meter runner, high jumper and long jumper in which he broke the 36-year old school record this season with a leap of 21-8 in the subsection at Belle Plaine.
Clarke said he stayed consistent in his high school career overall. “I improved a lot. You work harder, and it pays off. I’m very happy with what happened this year.”
Besides working on his own to perfect his form, Clarke said first-year head coach Sue Hynes helped get him to state.
“He helped me mentally,” Clarke said. “She kept me on track. When my head was down, she brought it back up. She was there helping me practice toward the end of the season for state.
Webster, son of Joel and Linda, is one of the smaller throwers at 6 feet 1 inches tall and 203 pounds.
But he said he built up his strength and foot speed over the years.
“I was not as big as these guys at state,” Webster said of his competitors who weighed 250 plus. “There’s some big boys. But that’s not what it’s all about. It’s more about keeping loose and not trying to force it out there. There’s little guys who can do it. Whenit comes to throwing shot put at state, I’d consider myself little.”
But Webster got all he could out of his body.
“I got my 54 and a quarter right away in the prelim, so that kind of took the pressure off,” Webster said. “I wasn’t able to throw better in the finals, but I still threw well so I’m proud of what I did.”
His personal record is 56-6 this season.
“It was really tough competition,” Webster said. “There was a lot of good, nice guys. The one who won it PR’d (personal record).”
Webster called his career overall in track successful. “I saw a lot of good people in our track and field program. It was fun to be around all of them.”
Along with former head track coach Jeff Christ and Hynes, throwing coach Terry Turek coached Webster. “He’s with me every single day, and he’s a solid throwing coach. He’s good at picking out little details to perform my best. He’s really good, fun guy. He’s good to be around.”
Webster hasn’t officially decided if he is going to throw the shot and discus in college, but he is going to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
“I definitely have more in me to go farther,” Webster said. “Keep building on what I have.”