Staff Photo: John Bohn Malaysia George is a high jumper with the Mill Creek track team. George moved to Georgia last year from Minnesota and placed second in the high jump at the state track meet.
THE GEORGE FILE
Name: Malayshia George
School: Mill Creek
Sport: Track and field
Dream job: To be on the Olympic team
Favorite sports team: Minnesota Lynx
Favorite TV show: "American Dad" or "SpongeBob SquarePants"
-- Placed second at last year's state meet in the high jump. Took fourth in the 400 and seventh in the 200
-- Has signed track scholarship with Clemson where she plans to major in sports medicine
-- Plays guard on the basketball team
-- Won four state titles in track in Minnesota
-- Has a personal record of 24.08 seconds in the 200, 54.20 in the 400 and 5-foot-8 in the high jump
Before a race, it's not uncommon for Malayshia George to seek out one of her opponents and offer a little bit of advice.
Maybe it's a tip on how to run the final 100 meters of a race or just a friendly chat to calm them down before the race starts.
"I'm a friendly person. I like to help people," George said. "Before they run, if they are nervous, I'll be like, 'Do this and you'll be perfectly fine.' Even after, I'll say, 'You did really well.'"
George's friendly personality has quickly made her popular around the track with not only her opponents, but teammates. The Minnesota native was named team captain after one track season in Georgia.
Although, it was quite an impressive debut.
George reached the state finals in three events last year, including a runner-up finish in the state high jump. Now the senior has gold on her mind this year, and of course, making a few friends along the way."I find it funny when people come up to me say 'I was so intimidated by you when I first saw you,'" George said. "If you come up and approach me, I'm probably the nicest person you'll ever meet. There's nothing scary about me."
There might not be anything scary about George off the track, but she's pretty fierce on the track. She was the Region 7 champion in the 200- and 400-meter runs and high jump last year.
"You think she's not competitive just watching her off the track, but then on the track it's a little bit different," Mill Creek coach Jed Hodges said. "Everything is happy, fun and all of this. On the track, I've never seen her give up on anything. She pushes it."
At the state meet, George placed seventh in the 200 and fourth in 400. She took second in the high jump after losing on a tie-breaker. Even when she competed with eventual state champion Alex Johnson from Mountain View, George was right there giving advice to her opponent.
"I feel like everyone deserves a chance to do their best," George said. "If they are mentally blocked, I don't want to be that opponent that hopes they do bad. I don't. I want everyone to do well."
George grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis where she attended the Breck School. Her family moved to Georgia in the summer of 2011 and Hodges did his homework when he found out he had a new athlete on the team.
It turned out George was a four-time state champion in the 200, 400 and two relay teams in Minnesota.
"She moved with such ease," Hodges said. "She just kind of burst out on the scene. She was real easy to get along with. The kids loved her and it seemed like she just fit in so quickly."
George's transition to Georgia took some time to adjust. She's still disgusted by sweet tea, has a tolerance for grits and has discovered Waffle House for late-night meals. Her favorite part about the South is her love for fast food restaurants Zaxby's and Chick-fil-A, which they don't have in Minnesota.
The biggest change was her school where she went from the Breck School that had about 1,200 students from K-12 to the largest school in Georgia in Mill Creek with 3,400.
"It's a big difference from here," George said. "I was scared. I had never seen this many people in my life."
Despite her friendly personality, George still has that competitive fire. She wants to go back to Albany and win the state title in the high jump, which she narrowly missed.
"I keep telling myself I'm going to get that this year," George said. "It's going to be mine."
George has signed with Clemson to run track next year. She plans to keep her friendly personality, but isn't sure if top-level college athletes will need her advice.
"I don't think they are going to need help," she said with a smile. "I will still be friendly. If someone is nervous, I don't mind calming them down. But they might have to calm me down."