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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Clara Schoolland, Ripon track & field
AOW Clara Schoolland

 The sophomore high jumper broke through at the biggest meet of the season, placing sixth in the 104th California Interscholastic Federation State Championships this past weekend.

Schoolland was one of two Indians to compete at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. On Friday, she broke her own school record with a 5-foot, 5-inch leap, advancing to the final round tied as the No. 3 seed. The top 12 qualified.

“I was really excited,” Schoolland said. “I practically jumped off the mat and looked at my coach. It felt great to finally break 5-4.”

Schoolland repeated the feat Saturday, clearing 5-5 — the day-2 opening height — once again on the first attempt. She came up short on all three tries at 5-6 but was still able to get a spot on the medal podium.

Schoolland ended up tied for sixth with St. Mary’s Fekei George, also a sophomore. George and Schoolland finished 1-2 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships.

“I got into this mind set where I thought, ‘oh well, if I hit this or don’t, I made it this far,’” Schoolland said. “Just thinking about it that way helped me.

“It was amazing,” Schoolland said of standing on the medal podium. “There was such a huge audience, and it was an honor to have placed.”

Valentina Fakrogha of Ventura won the state high jump title, topping out at 5-8. She and runner-up Summer Young of Menlo are both seniors. The rest of the medalists are underclassmen.

“Moving forward, I’m looking to keep improving,” Schoolland said. “Making it this far made me realize I can put much more effort into my training and practice, because this can be something I do in college.”