The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

‘Cool, Calm, Collected’: Malik Allen Carries Confidence ‘Til the End

Reyez Hangsleben
Senior Malik Allen jumps at the Belleville West Invite on April 6, breaking the 42-year-old record.

Not many can say they have a roadside sign dedicated to their state championship title in their hometown. Not many can even say they’ve competed in a state-level competition, let alone win one. However, senior triple jumper Malik Allen can.

The green sign, labeling him as the 2023 class 3A state champion, stands at the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon border and is a constant reminder to himself and the town of his success, motivating him for round two.

“I feel like I’m trying to get another one,” he said. “Trying to go back-to-back since I went back-to-back in [the indoor season].”

His junior year win added to his existing seventh place title as a sophomore and 15th place as a freshman. Yet, Allen had his eyes on a bigger prize going into his senior year: breaking the 42-year-old school record, set at 48-10 1/2 by Kevin Mosby.

At the Belleville West Invite on April 6, his goal was accomplished with a jump recorded at 49-3, surpassing the 48-9 1/2 he jumped at state.

“It was kind of the goal that I had set that I figured I would complete by the end of the year,” Allen said. “It kind of came early.”

Head track and field coach Chad Lakatos knew Allen had it in him to break the record but also wasn’t expecting him to do so until later in the outdoor season. In years past, Allen has played for the Amateur Athletic Union basketball club while doing track and field, one reason coach Lakatos thinks he’s reaching his goals quickly.

“I don’t think he’s spending as much time on the court, so his body is fresher,” coach Lakatos said. “I think this is one of the big reasons you’re seeing these big jumps from him this early.”

Allen highlighted the connections he’s made with coaches like Lakatos and jumps coach Carry Bailey throughout his athletic career to be valuable additions to his life.

Coach Bailey prioritizes these relationships as well and understands that his job as Allen’s coach is to help him achieve his “very high” goals, which won’t come without a challenge and a precise plan of action.

“Malik’s competition schedule is already mapped through the end of May,” coach Bailey said. “It is a very calculated schedule that keeps him healthy and competing at a very high level so that we can achieve the goals in place.”

The greatest moment for him is when he gets to see his athletes’ reaction to achieving the goals they worked hard for, something he remembers from Allen’s state-winning jump.

“The emotions and reactions that followed that jump were something I will never forget,” coach Bailey said. “Seeing the smile on his face and the excitement that followed celebrating with some of his teammates was truly a special moment.”

As Allen continues his final season, he’s focused on repeating last year’s victory and becoming a college commit in track and field, though he said there’s still a possibility for him to commit for basketball.

“[The rest of the season] looks pretty good… I feel like I could become top three in the state,” Allen said. “I’m kind of looking forward to that and breaking 50.”

With three important invites before the postseason, warmer weather in the midst and a deep understanding of his event, coach Lakatos is just as confident as Allen.

“Malik is calm, cool, and collected,” he said. “When the pressure is on, Malik can rise to the occasion.”