Her diet regularly consists of popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, and sour patch kids.
And she’s strong.
Clifton, who squats 345, cleans 175, and bench presses 170, didn’t plan on becoming an avid weight lifter.
But the results are worth the effort.
“Initially I just did it for the grade,” said Clifton. “I didn’t really intend to lift that much, but I just kept working at it and kept getting stronger. I knew it would help me in the long run.”
The long run turned out to be sooner rather than later.
The Mountain Grove junior ran a school-record 15.19 in the 100M hurdles to claim the Class 2 state championship in May, despite being seeded fifth heading into the finals.
John Citron, a volunteer hurdle coach at Mountain Grove, kept his advice for Clifton simple.
“He told me to just run my race,” said Clifton. “Usually he talks to me quite a bit before a race, but he didn’t want to make me too nervous.”
With such an accomplished field in the 100M hurdles, nerves weren’t the only thing Clifton would be running against.
Not only was the defending 100M hurdle state champ, Elsie Greenwood of Penney, in the field, but so was the 2012 300M hurdle state champion Emilyn Dearman of Stockton, and the eventual 2013 300M champ Kailey Chapman of Spokane.
“I was really nervous, I felt like I was going to throw up,” said Clifton. “I don’t remember seeing anyone next to me; I was so focused on running a clean race and doing my best.”
Her best was more than enough.
Clifton didn’t clip any of the eight hurdles in her way en route to an impressive state title.
“It didn’t hit me until the eighth hurdle and I didn’t see anyone else,” said Clifton. “As I crossed the finish I leaned to my left and saw another girl close to me, but I couldn’t tell who won. One of the MSHSAA judges caught me at the end and told me ‘congratulations’, I was really shocked.”
Clifton also finished fourth in the triple jump, making her all-state in both events.
Following her performance at the state meet, Clifton’s Facebook and Twitter were littered with messages of congratulations. The school also honored her upon her return.
“Everyone was so supportive and so nice,” said Clifton. “I had a bunch of calls and texts from friends and family, and after we went back we had a ceremony to change the record board and that was really exciting.”
With all the excitement around the track program, Clifton is hoping that her success will act as a catalyst to bring more girls out for the track program.
“I hope it inspires people to want to come out for track,” said Clifton. “If you work hard and put you hard into there is no telling what you can accomplish. I hope the entire team can make it next year.”
Favorite athlete: Destinee Hooker Favorite team: Green Bay Packers Pregame superstition: Listen to music and pray Most disliked athlete: Kobe Bryant Favorite movie: The Little Mermaid Favorite musical artist: Justin Bieber Favorite actor: Kate Hudson Favorite athletic memory: Winning state Song on your iPod people wouldn’t expect: “Popcorn Love” – New Edition Hidden talent: I can wiggle my ears
The schedule has been set for the 2013 Blue and Gold Tournament, held Dec. 26-30 on the campus of Missouri State University.
Here are some initial thoughts on the matchups to watch and how the bracket will play out.
The best first-round games...
It may be cold outside, but the action on the mats is heating up. After snow cancelled much of last week's prep slate, many area grapplers will kick off the 2013-14 season this week. This week's Chronicles will take a look at some of the Ozarks' best...
Mizzou fell to Auburn 59-42 on Saturday in the SEC Title Game. Here are five things I am taking away from the game.
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1. Auburn's rushing attack appears virtually...