Girard’s Mia Malito finishes on state podium to end HS career

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Girard senior Mia Malito competes in the Division II long jump. She earned sixth place at 17-9.25.

DAYTON – Over her four-year high school career, Mia Malito made the trek to state four times for track, although at three different locations. First, it was at Pickerington North her freshman year since COVID-19 protocols moved the tournament off of Ohio State’s campus. Her sophomore and junior campaigns concluded at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, and ironically enough, her senior season and prep career ended at Welcome Stadium on the campus of the University of Dayton.

In a small way, it was a homecoming of sorts for the Girard senior, who is committed to compete for the Flyers’ track and field program starting this fall. There was one thing left in her Indians career however — to find the podium in a field event.

She did just that, earning sixth place in the long jump, marking a 17-9.25, following a 12th-place finish in the high jump at 5-2, and a 4×100 preliminary. Malito did place her junior year, helping the Indians 4×100 team take the silver medal in Columbus, but placing in long jump, an event she never qualified in before, made the trip to Dayton special.

“I worked really hard in it, so this means a lot to me. This was my first time ever making it to state in the long jump, and I placed in it, so I’m really excited about that,” Malito said. “I had really good practices this week. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches, we had really hard practices this week and I just had a lot of confidence. My coaches believed in me, so it made it a lot easier for me to go out and jump.”

Although competing in so many events can be taxing, Malito said she didn’t have any issues.

“I’m used to it, I’m used to four events sometimes, so the three events was definitely hard, but I was ready for it. I worked hard all season to do three events,” she said.

Malito qualified for the high jump all four years of her Girard High School career, having the opportunity to compete at state with her second oldest brother Dominic, her first two years. Her oldest brother Nick was a state finalist himself during his track career at Girard.

“Track was never really something I even wanted to do; I was set on basketball. After watching my brothers qualify for state, I just kind of wanted to be like them, so I started and never looked back since,” Malito said. “I love the sport more than anything, and my coaches have made it really fun for me. (My brothers) worked really hard too, they were both really good long jumpers, they always fight over who’s the better one, but I worked really hard to try and get to where they were, and I think I did that.”

“I had always done long jump. I was fortunate enough to make it to state this year. I just started long jump because of my brothers, I kind of wanted to do what they did.”

Trading out the red and black of Girard for the navy and red of Dayton is a new challenge the Malito is eager for.

“It’s exciting, my whole family got to walk around campus and just be in the atmosphere, it’s really exciting. I got to show my coaches around. I’m just really excited to get down here pretty soon,” Malito said. “I just fell in love with it as soon as I got here. I had an official visit here, as soon as I was on campus, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the coaching staff and my future teammates.”

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