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Lukasik makes last jump for Clinton Prairie

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JUMP TEAM: Clinton Prairie’s Alyssa Lukasik posed for a photo on Saturday with her coaches in front of the grandstand at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington after finishing her event. Those making the trip included, from left, assistant coaches Tommy Bracken, Nick Seager, Lukasik and head coach Greg Buschman.
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FINAL JUMPS: Clinton Prairie’s Alyssa Lukasik cleared 5 feet 2 inches at Saturday’s girls state final meet in Bloomington, finishing 19th. The three-time sectional champion qualified for her first state meet in her final high school season.
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BIG STAGE: Clinton Prairie’s Alyssa Lukasik begins a jump on Saturday in front of the scoreboard at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Graduation parties had to wait on Saturday for Alyssa Lukasik as she finished up a distinguished athletic career at Clinton Prairie with her first trip to the state track and field meet in Bloomington as a high jumper.

“I thought I’d be really nervous for today, but there’s nothing left after this and I’ve got nothing to lose so just go out and jump,” she said after finishing her competition. “It’s been stressful, yeah, because we had to hurry up and graduate and then after graduation go straight here and jump, but I’ve enjoyed it.”

Lukasik graduated with her classmates earlier in the day, with any worries that she would have to miss the state finals due to a conflict with graduation settled earlier but leaving little time to linger after the ceremonies.

“I didn’t have duties (at graduation) but I was there this morning,” Prairie head track coach and teacher Greg Buschman said. “I sent her kind of a mock schedule yesterday and it said, ‘Saturday’s schedule, 10 o’clock graduate! 12:15ish leave for IU. 3:30 jump and then we’ll wing it from there.’ That’s exactly what I sent her.”

The two went down to Bloomington on Thursday hoping to become comfortable at the state-meet track, with weather causing some consternation.

“We drove through rain all the way here and the prediction was it was going to clear up when we got here and it was still raining,” Buschman said. “We didn’t want to wait like two hours for it to clear and then it rained for like 20, 25 minutes and cleared up and we got in and she started feeling good about jumping here.”

Lukasik came into Saturday’s state meet at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex seeded 27th after a below average for her 5-feet-1-inch jump at West Lafayette’s regional. On Saturday, she cleared 5-2 and finished 19th.

“Overall, we’re extremely happy.” Buschman said. “She made it here after the past two years of trying to do this. We’re finally here and like we told her, ‘It’s all good, it’s all icing on the cake.’ The way things are going who knows what place-wise you’re going to get because people miss and people are getting out who quote unquote are ‘seeded ahead of her.’”

Seeing the state’s top competition up close was probably the biggest eye opener for Lukasik.

“Just all the people here and all the girls they jump so well,” she said. “Because you know in our regular season in our duel meets and stuff, we didn’t really have any girls that were good for me to jump against. There wasn’t really much competition but you come here and they all jump over 5 (feet) and I can’t remember a girl in our regular season that could jump over 4-10.”

Lukasik noted that she was pleased with her performance, but would have liked to clear the 5-4 height that she accomplished several times during the season. Her high this season was 5-6, which she made at a meet in the regular season and also at the Hoosier Heartland Conference meet.

“I’ve gotten 5-4 a few times,” she said. “I knew I could jump it, so I was a little disappointed that I didn’t make it.”

Everything looked good on her third and final attempt at the height until the very last second.

“Just (got the bar) on my calf, I just had to get my feet out of the way,” Lukasik said.

“She had the height, just ran into it and rushed it (on her next to last attempt) and caught it on her calves on the last one,” Buschman said. “She had the actual last one by two or three inches on film and then just caught it with her calves right when she was trying to kick out, just brushed it and knocked it off.”

The brush of her leg cost Lukasik several spots overall. She fell to 19th on misses for those clearing 5-2, with three tied with the fewest misses at the height at 15th. The highest finisher at 5-4 was Central Noble’s Melea Leatherman, who took ninth. Ben Davis’s Khera Goss took fifth at 5-6, which was Lukasik’s season high, while Noblesville’s Tyler Shelby (who Lukasik has run into at regionals the past three years) won her third-straight state title with a jump of 5-9. 

Buschman was pleased with the result for his athlete.

“(It went) fairly well, we knew coming in that she was capable of doing some of these things and watching the film we took it was just little minor things,” he said. “If you miss, we usually have it on film and we say, ‘hey, you need to do this or this.’ You know just little modifications and she did, she changed it and then in the second one she just came in a little fast over the top and brushed it with her butt and the third one like I said had the height, but the calves just kicked a little too late.”

The meet was the last athletic event of Lukasik’s Clinton Prairie athletic career. She won three straight sectionals in the high jump and was a three-time Times county player of the year in volleyball. She was a second-team Class 2A all-state selection in volleyball last season helping lead the Gophers to their first sectional title in the sport since 2003 last fall.

Lukasik signed a letter of intent in March to continue playing volleyball at Army after she takes a prep year at New Mexico Military Institute. She said she doesn’t plan to continue high jumping after Saturday’s meet.

“I’m not going to be doing track, just volleyball in college,” she said. “I’ll miss it definitely, yeah. It’s kind of … yeah I’ll miss it.”