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McDaniel sophomore is one of the state's best soccer players. And she might be the state's best triple jumper on the side

PMG PHOTO: AUSTIN WHITE - McDaniel triple jumper Maleigha Canaday-Elliott jumps during the PIL district meet May 12, 2022, at McDaniel High School.

McDaniel High track and field sophomore Maleigha Canaday-Elliott always makes sure to pay attention during her teammates' races.

When people aren't cheering on or calling out to her fellow Mountain Lions, she makes sure to be the one or get on her teammates to do it.

Of course, she gets a front row view to the track as one of Class 6A's best triple jumpers, currently holding the No. 2 mark this season across the state at 39 feet, 1 inch. That jump is also the ninth best ever recorded in Oregon high school track and is only about a foot and a half off the top mark of 40-7.25.

That team environment from Canaday-Elliott probably stems from her main sport in soccer. And it's one she might have even more success in.

Recently the sophomore tried out once more for the Portland Thorns Academy and made it back into the program.

The program gets players of all age groups under 18 to play and train with the best around their area. More importantly, it gets them in front of some of the top collegiate programs. Canaday-Elliott recalls a showcase with somewhere around 67 college coaches from Division I on down.

While soccer may be the main track for Canaday-Elliott, she's carved out a nice backup plan in the pits in her first real high school season.

"Starting to plant that seed," McDaniel jumps coach Zoey Trask said of trying to get Canaday-Elliott onto the field path. "We got two more years."

If the next couple years are anything like the first, Trask might be able to pull off the conversion.

PMG PHOTO: AUSTIN WHITE - McDaniel triple jumper Maleigha Canaday-Elliott runs down the lane during the PIL district meet May 12, 2022, at McDaniel High School.

COVID changed plenty in Canaday-Elliott's first season as a freshman, but 2022 has been a new and exciting experience for the young Mountain Lion.

"It's been a good year, I've had a lot more time to actually do my events, get used to it, get the right form, process," Canaday-Elliott said. "Overall, it's been really fun and I really love track."

Canaday-Elliott isn't confined to the triple jump lines either as she also competes in the long jump, high jump and the 100.

Finding time to practice all of them is more of the hard part as soccer training at the academy is a year-around ordeal. So much so that Canaday-Elliott wasn't able to play her third sport of basketball as the soccer season ran during the same time.

Despite the daunting drive from McDaniel out to Hillsboro for soccer practice, Canaday-Elliott always finds a way to get the work in.

"I am always impressed and when I hear her say, when we do a hard workout here, 'OK, I gotta drive to Hillsboro and do practice,' I'm like, 'Oh my goodness,'" Trask said. "She's just committed and she likes what she does."

Last season, Canaday-Elliott took sixth at the unofficial state meet with a jump of 35-7.75.

Leaping all the way up into the 39 range is an impressive feat, and one that has come with more of a mental adjustment to the pit than a mechanical one.

"Maybe a little more focus, and maybe a little more attitude, which I kind of like," Trask said. "If someone is getting close to her, even if they're not too close, she's like, 'No, I got it, I got it.' And that's what I love about it, she makes it not feel like work and it's really fun."

PMG PHOTO: AUSTIN WHITE - McDaniel triple jumper Maleigha Canaday-Elliott does the first part of her jump during the PIL district meet May 12, 2022, at McDaniel High School.

As for the personal record jump, it came on one of only a couple sunny days the Mountain Lions have had this rain-soaked season in a PIL meet at Roosevelt.

It was the first meet after the Oregon Relays held at Hayward Field in Eugene. Canaday-Elliott didn't get to go, so instead she made up for lost time with the big leap.

"I just had a break with my legs," Canaday-Elliott said about the jump, meaning she had a break from soccer practice. "I visualize my jumps before, count the steps and mimic everything. I was like, 'You see where you want to be in the pit. And now you're going to go for that.'

"When my coach told me I got 39, I was mind blown because I didn't hear what they said."

The top mark this season belongs to West Linn junior Anika Sukumar, who went an even 40-feet back on April 23 at the Oregon Relays. Her leap is the fourth longest triple jump in Oregon history.

Sukumar and Canaday-Elliott are sure to be in a battle at the state meet, which will be held May 19-21 at Hayward Field. The 6A girls triple jump event is slated for 10:15 a.m. May 21.

A state title nor besting that 39-1 mark are on the mind of Canaday-Elliott or Trask though. Instead, they just want consistency and to see the sophomore stay in the 38s.

But one thing is for sure. She'll have a team behind her cheering the whole way.

"I hope to finish with 38s again, that's my main goal," Canaday-Elliott said. "But if I can beat that 39-1, oh my God, that would be amazing."

List of Portland-area state qualifiers

100 boys: Antony Ganz (Lincoln), Lindell Betts (Roosevelt), Stryder Todd-Fields (Central Catholic), Xavier Simpson (CC), Sam Veverka (Riverdale 3A), Caleb Brown (Mannahouse 2A)

200 boys: Antony Ganz (Lincoln), Enrico Ganz (Lincoln), Xavier Simpson (CC), Dajuan Cooper (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), Dillon Wendle (Riverdale 3A), Luke Lehman (Portland Christian 2A), Caleb Brown (Mannahouse 2A)

400 boys: Enrico Ganz (Lincoln), Finn Quinn (McDaniel), Stryder Todd-Fields (CC), Dillon Wendle (Riverdale 3A), Luke Lehman (Portland Christian 2A)

800 boys: William Heslam (Roosevelt), Asher Danielson (Wells), Warisso Wotcha (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), JahAllah Van (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), Caden Schroder (Portland Christian 2A)

1500 boys: Charlie North (Franklin), William Heslam (Roosevelt), Wesley Shipsey (CC), Max Girardet (CC)

3000 boys: Charlie North (Franklin), Aiden Smith (Lincoln), Paul Beaven (Franklin), Abdirizack Hussein (Roosevelt), Kai Mitchell-Reiss (Wells), Samy Anderson (Lincoln), Wesley Shipsey (CC), Max Girardet (CC), Caden Schroder (Portland Christian 2A)

110 hurdles: Caden McIlhenny (Grant), Nolan Malcomson (Wells)

300 hurdles boys: Nolan Malcomson (Wells), Caden McIlhenny (Grant), Keleb Mwaala (CC), Milkaya Adem (Parkrose 5A)

4x100 boys: Lincoln, Grant, Central Catholic

4x400 boys: Wells, Lincoln, Central Catholic, Portland Christian

Shot put boys: Max von Arx (Grant), Nywaun Campbell (Roosevelt)

Discus boys: Nywaun Campbell (Roosevelt), Max von Arx (Grant)

Javelin boys: Max von Arx (Grant), Eli Watnick-Wizeman (McDaniel)

High jump boys: Eli Flamoe (Cleveland), Chenoa Porter (Jefferson), Andrew Beymer (Central Catholic)

Pole vault boys: Dylan Floyd (Roosevelt), Alexander Thomas (Wells), Troy Hockett (David Douglas)

Long jump boys: Jackson Flatner (Roosevelt), Dieumerci Migani (Roosevelt), Sam Veverka (Riverdale 3A)

Triple jump boys: Stuart Goodbody (McDaniel), Eli Flamoe (Cleveland), Jawuan Polk (DD), Sam Veverka (Riverdale 3A), Dillon Wendle (Riverdale 3A)

100 girls: Lily Jones (Roosevelt), Trinity Montgomery (Jefferson), Nevayah Samuels (DD), Mia Rhodes (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), DaNasia Stephens (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), Adriana Bjornsgard (Mannahouse 2A)

200 girls: Lily Jones (Roosevelt), Trinity Montgomery (Jefferson), Lakely Doht-Barron (CC), Nevayah Samuels (DD), Mia Rhodes (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), DaNasia Stephens (De La Salle North Catholic 3A)

400 girls: Scarlett Anderson (Grant), Lulu Kennybrew (Benson), Lakely Doht-Barron (CC), Nuhamin Belay (De La Salle North Catholic 3A), Abby Zurasky (Riverdale 3A)

800 girls: Ellie Cook (Lincoln), Emily Rehn (Lincoln)

1500 girls: Kaiya Robertson (Franklin), Charlotte Richman (Wells), Ella McGillis (CC), Zoe Rector (CC), Makena Houston (Columbia Christian 2A)

3000 girls: Kaiya Robertson (Franklin), Charlotte Richman (Wells), Keira Saavedra (Lincoln), Ella McGillis (CC), Zoe Rector (CC), Makena Houston (Columbia Christian 2A)

100 hurdles: Adela Dembowski (Grant), Reba Booze (Benson), Alina Bosyuk (DD)

300 hurdles girls: Kylee Nelson (Lincoln), Adela Dembowsku (Grant), Alina Bosyuk (DD), Leah Zallee (Portland Christian 2A)

4x100 girls: Wells, Cleveland, CC, De La Salle North Catholic

4x400 girls: Lincoln, Franklin, CC

Shot put girls: Aviance Takau (Roosevelt), Piper Harmon (Cleveland), Aspen Pearce (DD), Jewyl Newton (St. Mary's), Ofeina Pulotu (Parkrose 5A)

Discus girls: Piper Harmon (Cleveland), Nabaa Hussein (Franklin), Kyeese Hollands (CC), Jewyl Newton (St. Mary's), Ofeina Pulotu (Parkrose 5A), Leah Zallee (Portland Christian 2A)

Javelin girls: Ava Arias (McDaniel), Piper Harmon (Cleveland), Kyeese Hollands (CC), Elliott Bush (CC), Emily Ashton (St. Mary's), Danielle Tsague (Portland Christian 2A)

High jump girls: Jillian Miller (Jefferson), Molly Carre (Wells), Martha Schaffarzik (Parkrose 5A)

Pole vault girls: Nicole Prall (Lincoln), Allison Otto-Fitzsimons (Wells), Leah Zallee (Portland Christian 2A)

Long jump girls: Izzi Rusch (Lincoln), Maleigha Canaday-Elliott (McDaniel)

Triple jump girls: Maleigha Canaday-Elliott (McDaniel), Izzi Rusch (Lincoln), Khloe Huskic (DD)

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