WESTBROOK — Nyagoa Bayak is not your typical high school freshman.

Bayak, who has grown a foot in the past year, is excelling in two sports this winter for Westbrook High. She is the top-ranked freshman in the nation in the high jump – and sixth among all U.S. high school girls – with a best of 5 feet, 7 inches.

On Monday afternoon, the 6-foot-2 Bayak will threaten to break the state record in the high jump at the Class A indoor track and field championships at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. She has qualified for three events at the state championships and will try to help Westbrook to its first girls’ state title.

But that’s just the start of her busy day. On Monday evening, Bayak will start at center for Westbrook in a Class A South girls’ basketball quarterfinal against York at the Portland Expo. Last week, she scored a team-high nine points in a 30-29 preliminary-round win over Cape Elizabeth.

All the while, Bayak – whose first name is pronounced Nee-ag-wa – is quick to flash a wide smile.

“She is a tremendously gifted athlete who really understands the game,” said Westbrook girls’ basketball coach Chris Aube. “And I can’t help be amazed how she’s handled both sports. She had to be at all basketball practices. That was the deal. She’s made it happen.”

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High School, takes flight during the junior division girls high jump at the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track championships. Bayak placed first in the high jump and long jump.

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High School, takes flight during the junior division girls high jump at the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track championships. Bayak placed first in the high jump and long jump. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

What’s remarkable about Bayak is that she seldom gets to practice her high jump technique because gym time for field events at Westbrook is at a premium, said assistant track coach Rob Card. Most of her training is done at meets.

“We told her, ‘Do what you want to do, and have at it.’ She’s a phenomenal natural athlete,” said Tim Even, Westbrook’s head track coach.

In the past month, Bayak also has started to compete in the triple jump and long jump. She’s improved dramatically in both events, and heads into the state meet ranked 10th in the long jump in Class A and 18th in the triple jump, a highly technical event that’s difficult to learn.

At the SMAA championships this month, she improved by a foot in both the triple and long jumps to win the junior division with distances of 32-0 and 15-5½.

“She could place in all three events at the state meet,” said Westbrook jumps coach Andy Lefebvre. “She’s a quick study. Anything I tell her, she instantly absorbs it.”

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High School, awaits her turn for the junior division girls triple jump at the SMAA indoor track championships at the University of Southern Maine’s Costello Sports Complex. Bayak placed third in the triple jump (32-0) and first place in the high jump (5-6) and long jump (15-5 ).

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High School, awaits her turn for the junior division girls triple jump at the SMAA indoor track championships at the University of Southern Maine’s Costello Sports Complex. Bayak placed third in the triple jump (32-0) and first place in the high jump (5-6) and long jump (15-5 ). Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Lisa Huntress, who has coached the Thornton Academy girls to four state track championships, calls Bayak “the real deal.”

“You look at her height and automatically think: jumper. But when I first saw her go over the bar at the first meet of the season, she actually looked like she knew what she was doing,” Huntress said. “It is definitely impressive and exciting to think about. When her body develops and her muscles develop, she is going to be amazing.”

Cheverus track coach Steve Virgilio believes Bayak will continue to climb in the national rankings.

“She does look ready to go 5-9 or 5-10 (in the high jump),” he said.

Bayak plans to compete at the New Balance national high school championships in New York City in March. The national freshman record of 5-10 was set by Karla Newman of Tennessee in 1989 and tied by Patience Coleman of North Carolina in 2004.

“I think she is just scratching the surface with how good she can be,” said Scarborough boys coach Derek Veilleux, who has coached Scarborough to five Class A state titles.

Bayak’s growth spurt has been a big factor in her improvement. But that’s not the only reason.

“I attribute her improvement to her maturity. She’s more focused in high school than she was in middle school,” Even said.

Last year, Bayak’s best high jump was 4-10. At the first meet this winter, she cleared 5-4 with no trouble. At the next meet she jumped 5-6½, then improved to 5-7.

Aube, the Westbrook basketball coach, has seen impressive growth in Bayak’s athletic abilities. The middle-school player he recalls seeing in summer basketball leagues was not the complete athlete who came out for his team this fall.

“She was clumsy in middle school. But then she came out in November and she went from a kid I thought would be a role player or swing kid playing JV and varsity to being a starter at the opening game,” he said.

Aube said Bayak has so endeared herself to the basketball team through her work ethic – she has never missed a practice or game despite playing two sports – that the varsity team is coming to watch her high jump at the state track meet before their playoff game.

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High, competes in the junior division triple jump at the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track championships. She has improved dramatically in both the triple jump and long jump during the past month.

Nyagoa Bayak, a freshman at Westbrook High, competes in the junior division triple jump at the Southern Maine Activities Association indoor track championships. She has improved dramatically in both the triple jump and long jump during the past month. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“The kids are pulling for her. They know what a special athlete she is. Her charisma is contagious. She’s very humble, and she’s always smiling,” Aube said.

Bayak could have chosen any track event to specialize in, Even said. As a seventh-grader, she ran the 400 meters in 1:05 and the mile in 5:45. But she wanted to concentrate on the high jump, and despite the challenges in finding training time, she has maintained a laser-focused approach to mastering it.

“I’ve struggled with my steps. And I need to focus on flicking my feet and arching my back,” Bayak says earnestly, then flashes her ever-present grin.

The Class A state meet record is 5-6¼, so Bayak could walk away with a state record as well as a state title. It’s a question that, once again, makes her smile.

“I’d be really happy if I won a state title,” she said. “That would be awesome, actually.”