Injuries nearly derailed Clare’s defending state champion track star Jake McFadden’s senior season. Yet, at the completion of Saturday’s 110 high hurdles and 300 IM hurdles at Saturday’s division three state championships at Comstock Park, McFadden reclaimed his place atop the state’s elite for the second year in a row.
“Battling through the injuries that I went through this year and coming back and winning state again (felt great),” McFadden, who won the 110 with a time of 14.71 and 300 with a time of 38.88 said.
Though he won both events at last year’s state meet, victories at this year’s championships seemed almost out of the question at one point earlier this year.
“First, I hurt my foot the second meet of the season,” McFadden, who is committed to run at Michigan State University next year said. “It kept bugging me and getting worse. I was out of practice for a couple of weeks with that. It felt better and then maybe a week later my hip flexor started hurting and I was out with that for another couple weeks. It still hasn’t been a hundred percent for the whole season.”
His head coach, Adam Burhans feels that McFadden’s battle with injuries make this year’s feat all the more remarkable.
“He fought through a lot of pain and personal injury to make what he does look easy,” Burhans said. “And let me tell you, there’s nothing easy about hurdling through pain.”
In his time off recovering from his injuries, McFadden, who qualified for the state finals in at least one event all four years of his high school career, had to miss several weeks of practices and three meets.
“It kept being something new that would hurt and I just couldn’t quite get over that hill,” he said. “It was a little bit discouraging but I didn’t let it get me down.”
Burhans has taken note of McFadden’s special prep career as well.
“He finishes his career as obviously the best hurdler, but one of the most efficient sprinters in a long line of sprinting giants in the program,” Burhans said. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for someone who started out as a freshman, as the fourth best hurdler. His inner fire never went out.
He just worked at getting better and as a result he became a feared and elite athlete to watch. Many times people showed up just to watch him, but he never let it get to him.”
Now, McFadden hopes to be an elite athlete at the next level, as he prepares to compete at MSU in the 400 and 110 hurdles.
“I just have to keep working hard and get used to the new things,” he said. “The hurdlers are higher and the IM hurdles are longer. I just have to be patient with that and hope that I can make the transition. successfully.”
Even though he will be at MSU next year, Burhans believes McFadden will have lasting effects on Clare’s track program.
“He has the school records in the 110 (14.2), 300 (38.2) and 100 dash (10.7),” Burhans said. “I’m highly proud of what he’s done for the program, because so many of the younger kids want to be him. We’re going to miss him.”