Kareen Clarke has quietly established herself as one of University of Miami’s best track and field athletes.
Clarke’s hard work and determination helped her earn her fourth All-American honors with a third place finish in the triple jump (13.54 meters) at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Arkansas Tyson Track Center (Fayettville, AR) on March 9.
“Kareen has always been at her best in the big meets and it wasn’t any different tonight,” said Miami women’s track head coach Amy Deem after the meet. “When you compete at this meet against the best there is, you can’t ask for anything more than what she produced.”
As the season progresses, Clarke continues to improve her jumps and blow out her competition. She recently placed first in the triple jump at the Hurricane Invitational on March 16 at University of Miami’s Cobb stadium. With a jump of 13.77 meters, Clarke automatically qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to be held in Baton Rouge, LA, May 29-June 1.
“We only have two outdoor meets here at UM, so I try to take advantage of the extra support from my family and friends,” said Clarke. “We practice here everyday and the familiarity of the surroundings really does help your performance.”
Clarke, the 1997 Jamaican Junior champion in the triple jump, lead Stephenson High School (Lithonic, Georgia) to consecutive state titles. Clarke was the state triple jump champion three consecutive seasons and the state record holder in the triple jump (38′-3″). She also served as team captain and received MVP honors her junior and senior year.
Clarke eagerly attended UM on an athletic scholarship in 1999 and has been a key role to the success of the Hurricanes’ track program ever since. As a freshman, Clarke was named the Hurricanes’ Most Outstanding Newcomer (1999) and continued to receive All-American Honors her sophomore year in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayettville, Arkansas.
Clarke set Miami triple jump records at the Big East Indoor Championships (2000) with a jump of 13.19 meters and an outdoor record of 13.24 meters at the Reebok Invitational in Atlanta, GA (2000).
“[Kareen] is a leader by example. Her self-discipline, dedication, and success on and off the track motivate the rest of us to make every practice count,” said freshman teammate Lauryn Williams.
In her junior year, Clarke broke her own triple jump record at the Miami Gatorade Classic with a leap of 13.33 meters. She is the only jumper in UM history to earn All-American honors by placing first at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in the same season (2001).
“I work hard at practice and I strive to do my best,” said Clarke. “I am in this position because I can do it and others believe in my talent. Once you believe that within yourself, anything is possible.”
Clarke will graduate this June with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She has aspirations of continuing her track career on a professional level.
Clarke and the Hurricanes will compete tomorrow at the Florida International University track and field invitational meet in Miami.