A Woodbridge High graduate has been named the 2020 Pacific Coast League Female Athlete of the Year.
“There are so many good athletes all over Irvine, so it was a big shock to me,” Maddie Lyon says.
But everyone who knows the star athlete said it shouldn’t have been.
In 2019 alone, Lyon scooped up league titles in the high jump, the long jump, the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump.
She was also ranked seventh nationally in the indoor triple jump that year.
“Honestly, she has no limit to her success,” says Keinan Briggs, who has been coaching her in the youth track club LEAP Squad since she was in sixth grade. “She’s a naturally gifted athlete who also works at her skill set.”
And she is not hypnotized by the limelight.
Briggs tells a story about how an eighth-grade teammate of Lyon’s broke the 30-year-old Irvine Junior Games long jump record when Lyon was in seventh grade. Briggs assured Lyon she was going to break that record the following year when she was in eighth grade.
“She said, ‘I don’t want to break the record because my friends are going to look at me differently,’ ” he recalls.
Lyon’s specialty is the triple jump. She soared 40 feet, 4 inches in her junior year at the Orange County Track & Field Championships, a personal record and an extraordinary distance for a high school athlete.
“That was a really big moment,” she says.
Another big moment was when she came in sixth overall in 2019 (out of over 45,000 California girls who competed in track and field that year) at the CIF State Track & Field Championships.
That same year, she finished seventh in the U.S. in the triple jump at the New Balance Indoor National Championships in Manhattan. She would have no doubt collected more titles if the 2020 season had not been canceled due to COVID-19.
At 5-foot-9, Lyon credits her “really long legs” and gymnastics foundation. “I always had that spring in me,” she says. But she also trains hard every day and played volleyball for Woodbridge
High all four years in the offseason.
Each year, the Pacific Coast League athletic directors honor only one female athlete out of all the female athletes playing every sport at all six high schools in Irvine.
Lyon found out she was the one by an announcement on Instagram, and, although she shared it on Instagram, she didn’t “crazy celebrate.”
“I still don’t really like the attention,” she says. “Also, I don’t want to jinx myself.”
At the end of summer, which she plans to spend surfing, she will head north to compete with the NCAA Oregon State University track and field team on a full scholarship.