Hailey Cloud had a decision to make on Saturday, May 25.
The Union junior had two places to be at once. As a two-sport athlete, Cloud had qualified to compete in the Class 4 MSHSAA State Track and Field Championships in three separate events that day, but her girls soccer team also had a big game to play that same afternoon.
Cloud and her coaches decided for her to compete in the track meet and it ended up with positive results for everyone as Cloud took home a state medal for fifth place in the triple jump and the Lady ’Cats soccer team defeated Glendale, 2-1, in overtime in the Class 3 state quarterfinals.
“I talked to Coach (Matt) Fennessy and Coach (Sarah) Meiners and we just talked it out,” Cloud said. “Since this was my first year coming to state (track) I just trusted my soccer girls to pull it off and they did. Since I made it to state in three events, we decided that I would come here and do my best and if I got out early, I could go play in the game, but the girls got it done so I didn’t have to.”
The Class 4 state meet was moved to Washington High School, creating a short road trip up Highway 47 for Cloud to get there. The move resulted from tornado damage at the planned site of the meet in Jefferson City.
Cloud had her second-best triple jump mark of the season in the state meet, going 36-9.5. She also placed 14th in the long jump (16-3.25) and was part of Union’s 400-meter relay team, which placed 14th, along with Deseray Washington, Ella Coppinger and Sophie Eagan.
“This was one of the most competitive years in Class 4 long jump that I have seen,” Meiners, Union’s head track coach, said. “To even make the finals, we needed to jump 17-2 and it was just not there that day. However, she is mentally strong and came back to the jumping pits for triple jump with a determination to get a medal.”
This season, Cloud was the Four Rivers Conference Champion in both the long jump and the triple jump and the sectional champion in the triple jump.
Cloud jumped her career best mark of 37-3.25 in the triple jump to finish first in Class 4 Section 2 after being the runner up in the District 3 meet.
Cloud also was the sectional runner up in the long jump with her second best jump of the season at 17-2.
“I was a little scared for the long jump,” Cloud said of her chances in the state finals. “I’m kind of upset about that one, but I’ve still got next year to go.”
Cloud made the finals cut in the triple jump and had her best jump on the day and second best jump of the year on her final attempt.
Cloud and the soccer Lady ’Cats went on to finish fourth in the state playoffs in Kansas City the following weekend.
“Hailey had a very difficult choice to make between playing in the quarterfinals soccer game against Glendale and competing in her three events at the state track meet,” Meiners said. “I was so glad to see that she earned a state medal and the Union girls won their game to advance to state.”
Cloud ended up with All-State honors in both sports. She was a first team All-State selection at midfielder for the soccer team to go with her triple jump honor.