Burbank High athlete Jayla Flowers saved her finest moment for her final competition of her sophomore campaign.
In the winter, Flowers was a starter on the Bulldogs’ girls’ basketball team, helping the squad to a winning record while earning All-Pacific League honors.
But it was in the spring where the talented Flowers really made her mark.
In the past, Flowers enjoyed success as a Junior Olympic athlete and was ranked nationally in the long jump and triple jump. But as a sophomore at Burbank, Flowers broke through this past season and cemented herself as one of the top high school athletes in the state.
In May at the 101st CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, Flowers made history with an impressive performance.
It is because of those accomplishments that Flowers has been named the Burbank Leader Girls’ Athlete for the 2018-19 campaign.
A historic performance in the triple jump in state competition was the final hurrah for Flowers during her sophomore season.
Flowers became the first athlete in area history to make the state podium in the girls’ triple jump since the event was added to the championship schedule in 1982, improving her own school record of 39 feet, 6 inches on her final attempt to place fifth.
“I literally started crying over there, tears of joy, and also because of the pain in my IT band, but it’s OK because I got through it,” Flowers said after her state performance. “This felt so amazing just to be here tonight, with all the lights and the night sky and these incredible girls, it means so much.”
After surpassing 39-0 for the first time in her career in the state prelims a day earlier with a mark of 39-1 1/4 to qualify ninth among the 12 finalists, Flowers exceeded that effort in the second round of the finals with a 39-5 to move into third place.
By the time she took the runway for the final time, Flowers found herself in fifth and in need of another strong performance to guarantee a spot in the top six and a place on the podium.
She responded with another improvement to secure her position as the top Southern Section competitor in the final and the No. 2 sophomore overall, trailing only third-place finisher Elise Miller of San Pasqual, who produced a 40-2 effort on her final jump.
It also marked the second year in a row a Pacific League athlete made the girls’ triple jump podium, following Muir’s Micah Fulton finishing second the prior season.
“I’m amazed with myself because I didn’t think I was going to make it this far,” said Flowers, who didn’t compete past April 7 in the 2018 season.
“Freshman year, I went through a lot of injuries and I was really angry, because I would never tell my coaches that I was hurt. But I had to learn to speak up and tell them I was hurting, so we could back off and shut it down for a couple of days to make sure I still had a chance to compete at the end of the season.”
In addition to her state success, Flowers captured a pair of Pacific League championships. She had a mark of 16-9 1/4 in the long jump and turned in a 36-2 effort in the triple jump to secure the crowns.
“She’s definitely a very talented athlete,” Burbank first-year coach David Card said at the league finals. “It’s just great to see her perform like that and she had an excellent showing.”
In basketball, Flowers helped Burbank to a 15-13 record and a fifth-place finish (6-8) in the Pacific League.