Jaymi Carlen is taking her considerable athletic skills to college.
Just last week the 2012 Payson High School graduate learned she had been awarded scholarships, including the prestigious Presidential scholarship, to attend Scottsdale Community College where she will be a member of the school’s track and field team possibly competing in the heptathlon.
“I was planning on going to Montana State, but when I got the scholarships I couldn’t turn Scottsdale down,” Carlen said. “I will probably go (to Montana State) after I finish up at Scottsdale.”
Carlen says she’s unsure of what captured the eye of Scottsdale coaches, but it might have been her showing May 31 to June 2 in the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic held at the University of New Mexico.
There, Carlen ran, jumped and threw her way to a second place finish in the decathlon event that pitted 10 invited athletes from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada against one another.
In finishing second, Carlen scored 4,741 points exceeding the 4,698 she scored in late May at the 37th Arizona State Decathlon Champions held at Queen Creek High School.
At both competitions, she was second to Mesa Mountain View’s Kaija Bramwell, who scored 5,200 at the Great Southwest and 5,140 at the Arizona championships.
Most remarkable about Carlen’s showing in the rugged decathlons is that she is a newcomer to the competition having just begun participating weeks ago.
“My coaches brought it up and I decided I’d like to try it,” she said.
Her newness prompted her coaches at the Meet of Champions to give her a crash course in throwing the javelin just 20 minutes before the event began.
PHS head track and field coach Johnathan Ball points out that Carlen, due to her inexperience, is usually not the most polished decathlon participant, but often “is the most athletic girl in the field.”
Carlen says her strongest events “are usually the throws” but she needs improvement in “the distance and hurdles.”
Those were bore out at Great Southwest where she was second in the discus, long jump and javelin but fifth in both the 100-meter hurdles and 1500-meter run.
In the 100 meters, 400 meters and shot put she was third and in the high jump she took fourth.
In the pole vault, normally a strong event, she tied for fifth clearing 7 feet, 9.75 inches.
At the Meet of Champions, she was over the bar at 8 feet, 9.75 inches.
Although her showings in both decathlons was stellar, she plans on using the summer months to improve.
“I’ll be working with coach Bo (Althoff) in the pole vault and doing the running and jumping events on my own,” Carlen said.
When not practicing, Carlen is employed at Taylor Pool as a lifeguard
During the regular season, when decathlons are not part of standard high school meet, Carlen was multi-talented, competing in several individual events. She also was a member of the Lady Horn 4x100 relay team that last season broke an 11-year-old school record.
Because a girls decathlon is not offered in junior college competition, Carlen will probably switch to the heptathlon which is comprised of seven events — the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meters.
In addition to participating in track and field during her prep career, Carlen was a standout point guard on the Lady Horn basketball team and also played soccer.
At Scottsdale, she will major in graphic design.