Scarborough High sophomore Jayden Flaker, right, is shown winning the 55 meter hurdles during the Class A state indoor track championships at USM in February. Last week, Flaker won the AAU Junior Olympic 15-16 year-old 110-meter high hurdles in Florida. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Look out Maine track and field athletes. There is another Flaker from Scarborough speeding down the track.

Jayden Flaker, a soon-to-be junior at Scarborough High, won the AAU Junior Olympic 15-16 year-old 110-meter high hurdles on Friday, taking a major step outside the shadow cast by his older brother Jarett, the state record holder in multiple sprint events.

Celebrating his 16th birthday on Friday, Jayden Flaker set a new Maine sophomore record with a time of 14.42 seconds in Satellite Beach, Florida. That’s the third-fastest time recorded by a Maine high school hurdler, according to Maine Milesplit’s Derek Veilleux, who is also Flaker’s coach at Scarborough High.

“It shows that I can compete at the national level. It shows that I’m kind of ready,” Flaker said Monday. “Some of the hurdles I hit bad. I feel like if I can fix my trail leg, I can get into the 13(-second range) next year outdoor.”

At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Jayden is at least two inches taller and a bit leaner than his older brother, who will soon be heading to George Mason University on a track scholarship. After starting as a defensive back and receiver for the football team last fall, Jayden won the 55-meter hurdle Class A indoor title.

Jarett Flaker was a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy given to Maine’s best senior football player and then posted state-best times in five indoor events.

“It’s been difficult because every record just gets harder and harder to get because he kept lowering them,” Jayden said, with a soft laugh. “But every day I have a good competition to run a workout with and he pushes me to get better and better every day and he’s going to George Mason and it shows I can go to college to run track, too.”

Flaker qualified for the final as the sixth seed after winning a heat race on Thursday 15.23 seconds into a headwind. While it was a personal best time, it wasn’t what Flaker had been looking to run, and he was convinced he could run faster the next day.

“He said, ‘I never do well in my first race. I can win this,'” said his father, Jay Flaker, who was at the meet. “I was more like, well, top three would be good but I’m glad you believe.”

“In the finals he ripped off a 14.42 and I was just flabbergasted,” Jay Flaker said. “I’m pretty mild mannered most of the time but I screamed in the stands and everyone was looking at me and then when I was running to try to find him I almost had tears in my eyes.”

Flaker said he benefitted from both a good start and the competitive field. Seven of the eight runners in the final broke 15 seconds. Flaker edged Kai Graves-Blanks of Rancho Cucamonga, California, by six-hundredths of a second, with Kendrick Smallwood of Mesquite, Texas, only .12 back in third.

Flaker also competed in the 400 hurdles, finishing 10th.

Jayden Flaker, 16, and his sister Emerson, 13, both competed at the AAU Junior Olympics. Emerson placed third in the girls’ 13-year-old 200-meter hurdles and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles. Photo courtesy of Jay Flaker

Jayden’s younger sister Emerson, 13, who will be in eighth grade, also competed in the meet. She placed third in the girls’ 13-year-old 200-meter hurdles and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.

Jay Flaker said he registered Emerson and Jayden for the meet, but had purposely not paid the entry fees because he expected the meet to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just wanted the kids to do something and to train and I figured they would cancel it,” Jay Flaker admitted. “I promised I would take them if they had it, but I was a little surprised.”

When it was clear the meet would be held, Jay Flaker had to scramble to pay the kids’ entry fees, book a flight, get a hotel and arrange for virus testing upon returning to Maine.

For Jayden Flaker, it turned into a breakout effort and memorable 16th birthday.


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