Cahokia junior Ja’Mari Ward shattered the 46-year-old Illinois High School Association long jump state record with a jump of 25-feet 0 1/4-inches on Friday at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Competing in the Class 2A State Track Meet preliminaries, Ward holds a lead of over 2 1/2 feet heading into the final three jumps on Saturday.
The Comanches also moved closer to a record fifth straight state title with a near flawless preliminary round performance at Eastern Illinois University.
Ward’s jump smashed his own Class 2A state mark of 23-7 3/4 he set as a freshman two years ago and broke the all-time IHSA state mark of 24-6 1/4 set by Oscar Wallace of Alton in 1969.
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Ward wasn’t done as he later went on to break the Class 2A meet mark in the triple jump with a leap of 50-6 1/2. The jump broke the mark set by Vernon Carter of Cahokia in 2010. Carter’s jump was 48-7 1/2.
Chris Hercules of Palatine holds the overall state mark of 51-1/2 inch set in 1997.
Cahokia enior Korrion Session had the fastest time in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
Taking advantage of near ideal conditions, Cahokia qualified 13 individuals and in all four relays — the most of any Class 2A team — for the finals, which begin at 10 a.m. If the Comanches hold their current seeds, they are on pace to score more than 110 points, which would break the Class 2A state record of 99 1/2 points they totaled two years ago.
So impressive were the Comanches that coach Leroy Millsap called the day one of the best he’s seen.
“I would have to say this was the best preliminary round day that we’ve had here. In the past we’ve had two or three entries fall short of making the finals. Today, with the exception of one sophomore in the 300 hurdles, we advanced everybody we thought we would,’’ Millsap said. “The goals tomorow are for each athlete to do a little bit better than today (Friday). We’d like to win all four relays because we’ve never done that. But the goal is just to win the state title. That’s it.”
Millsap marveled at Ward’s performance.
“Ja’Mari hit the board on the last attempt, which is something he didn’t do on the first two. He was three feet in back of the board on his first attempt when he went 23-6 and two feet in back of it on his second jump which was 24-5,’’ Millsap said. “Ja’Mari had a great day.”
The triple jump was his last of the season. Millsap confirmed that with the state titles all but wrapped up, Ward will not jump in the finals, but instead will concentrate on running in the 400 and 800 relays.
The Conanches had the second best time in the 400 relay — 41.84 seconds — and the best time in the 800 relay with a 1:27.84.
Cahokia also posted the best time in the 3,200 relay (8:02.91) and the 1,600 relay — (3:21.48).
Session is seeded first in the 110 hurdles (14.21) and the 300 hurdles (38.41), while Daniall Akins (57 feet 1/2 inch) had the second-best throw in the shot put and Tyran Lyons (49.67) had the second-best time in the 400. Senior Keveion Akins advanced to the finals in the 100 and 200 meters.
Lyons time is second to Highland sophomore Tyler Higgins, whose time of 49.25 was the best of the day. Highland is also in the finals in the 400 and 3,200 relays and senior Trevor White advanced in the 800.
Triad will be represented by junior Adam Nelson in the 100, while Waterloo’s Lance Mueller (1,600) and Graysen Moehrs (110 hurdles) also advanced.
Cole Rodenberg of Waterloo, is in the finals of the 3,200 meters.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at email@example.com or 618-239-2661.