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Ja’Mari Ward headed to Poland for world championships

Cahokia’s Ja’Mari Ward won the national championship in long jump Friday with a career-best leap of 25 feet, 8 3/4 inches.
Cahokia’s Ja’Mari Ward won the national championship in long jump Friday with a career-best leap of 25 feet, 8 3/4 inches. tvizer@bnd.com

With a national championship in the long jump and berth on the USA Junior World Team secure, Ja’Mari Ward was scratched from the finals of the triple jump at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships on Saturday at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif.

Cahokia High School coach Leroy Millsap pulled Ward out of the competition because of a swollen right knee. A University of Missouri recruit, Ward suffered a dislocated left kneecap at the Collinsville Invitational last month.

The injury forced Ward to miss the final week of the regular season and the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet where the Comanches won their sixth straight championship. The USA Track and Field Championships were Ward’s first competition since the injury.

Millsap said the swelling in the right knee is nothing to worry about.

“Ja’Mari is fine. The swelling is not in the knee he had injured at Collinsville,” Millsap said. “He had already qualified in the triple jump, so there is a chance he may get chosen to compete in the triple jump at the world championships.”

The World Junior Track and Field Championships begins July 19 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

One of the top combination athletes in the nation in the triple jump and long jump, Ward showed his top form as he won the national championship in the long jump of on Friday with a leap of 25 feet, 8 3/4 inches.

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