Gazette Boys Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year: Jonas Clarke, South Hadley

  • Jonas Clarke, of South Hadley, runs to a first place in the 55-meter dash final during the 2020 PVIAC indoor track championships, at Smith College. Clarke has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 7/22/2020 6:48:45 PM

After making an impression during his freshman year outdoor season, the track community knew Jonas Clarke was a name to watch heading into his sophomore year of indoor competition.

Clarke even knew it himself, ramping up his own intensity with the sport going into the season.

“I took things a bit more lightly freshman year,” Clarke said. “I didn’t realize how good I was and the potential I had, so going into this year I started taking things a lot more seriously.”

And his work ethic paid big dividends for his sprinting season at South Hadley, which culminated in a Division 5 state championship in the 55-meter dash. For his accomplishments this season, Clarke has been named the Gazette Boys Indoor Track & Field Player of the Year.

His improvement in the 55 dash, his feature event, was drastic from the beginning of the season to the postseason.

In Clarke’s first race of the season, he recorded a victory in 6.53 seconds. He hit a wall for the majority of January, stuck with times around the 6.6 range. After a solid February, though, Clarke reached the 6.4 range, one of his biggest goals for the year.

And at the Division 5 state championship, it paid off in the form of a meet record: Clarke won the event in 6.41 seconds, the top time in the history of the event and South Hadley program history. His efforts helped lead the Tigers to a third-place finish at the state meet, their best finish in program history.

“(The state championship) was really cool because we weren’t expecting to do as much as we did,” Clarke said. “Individually, I got the meet record which I also wasn’t expecting. It was really cool to experience, because as an underclassman I wasn’t really even thinking about stuff like that yet.”

Clarke topped the incredible performance just a week later at the All-State Championship. With a 6.39-second finish, Clarke beat his own program record and finished second in the competition, just behind Richard Kwateeng of Lowell, who won in 6.37 seconds.

Clarke was thrilled with the performance, and excited for what his future holds after his final results of the season.

“My main goal of the season was to get into the 6.4s,” Clarke said. “So to smash that and even get below 6.4 was really crazy to me. I wasn’t too upset about the second-place finish, because I know I’m young and I’ll come back and dominate next year, if there’s a next year.”

And though the future is a bit uncertain, Clarke is motivated by his success this season as he moves forward in his training and competitive sprinting.

“The season really surprised me as a whole, because I wasn’t expected to be pulling these times out,” Clarke said. “It kind of opened up my perspective on running — I’ve started to compare myself nationally to other kids … I just have a more competitive mindset than I did freshman year.”

Gazette Boys Track & Field All-Star Team

Jonas Clarke, sophomore, South Hadley

Patrik Cooper, senior, Amherst Regional

Bradyn Cote, senior, South Hadley

Josh Denoronha, freshman, Hampshire Regional

Willem Goff, senior, Amherst Regional

Benjamin Howe, senior, Northampton

Timothy Jacques, senior, Northampton

Justin Kennedy, senior, South Hadley

Simon LaClair, senior, Northampton

Tobias L’esperance, senior, Northampton

Ryan Levrault, senior, South Hadley

Jonathan Lischetti, senior, Northampton

Davian Lopez, junior, South Hadley

Glenn Rice, junior, Northampton

Jacob Revolo, senior, Northampton

Darius Robinson, junior, Amherst Regional

Junior Pontes da Veiga, senior, Amherst Regional

Lars Sippel, junior, Northampton

Walter Tebbetts, senior, Amherst Regional

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