The start of the NCAA early fall signing period is a little less than two weeks away, but those wanting to know the college decision of Cahokia senior Ja’Mari Ward will apparently have to wait a little longer.
The top-ranked high school combination athlete in the long jump and triple jump in the nation, Ward said on Wednesday that he has not yet made a college decision and that he has no time table on making the announcement of where will spend the next four years of his life competing at the college level.
“The schools I’m looking at are all great schools with a lot to offer as far as academics and athletically. I like them all,” Ward said. “It’s a big decision and one I have to look at from the point of where I will be happy and what is the best place for me and my future. I’m taking my time.”
Ward said he does have is college choice narrowed to four schools. They are Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama and Florida. All of those universities are members of the powerful Southeastern Conference. Ward is making his official visit to Missouri this weekend.
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Ward is a two-time Class 2A state champion in both the long jump and triple jump.
Ward set the Illinois High School Association state track meet record in the long jump last May with a leap 25 feet 1/4 inch and the Class 2A state mark in the triple jump at 50 feet, 6 inches. The talented thinclad also ran on the Comanches Class 2A record-breaking 400 and 800 meter relay teams.
One of the top boys track and field teams in the nation, Cahokia romped to its fifth straight Class 2A state crown a year ago behind Ward’s performances and should be a favorite for a sixth straight title in 2016.
Ward is also a two-time Gatorade Ilinois High School Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap said he has no idea what school will land Ward. And as for helping his all-American athlete make the decision, Millsap said he is staying out ot it.
“This is a decision Ja’Mari has to make because he’s the one who is going to have to live with it,” Millsap said. “He’s a very bright young man and I’m happy he’s taking his time. He has to do what he feels is right not just athletcially, but where he can get a great education.”
The NCAA early fall signing period begins on Nov. 11.