The quest for a fifth straight Class 2A state track championship has begun for the Cahokia Comanches. Unofficially that is.
Competing as a member of the Cahokia track club, junior Jamari Ward won both the triple jump and long jump while Cahokia’s 1,600 meter relay team shattered the school record by more then four seconds to lead the way for local athletes at the Arkansas High School Indoor Invitational on Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.
Ranked as the No. 1 college recruit in the Class of 2016 in both the long jump and triple jump, Ward soared 23 feet 5 inches as he won the long jump then won the triple jump with a leap of 49 feet 9 1/2 inches. Both jumps are the best indoor jumps in the state this season and are among the top three in the nation.
But Ward wasn’t the only Cahokia athlete to a shine at the prestigious event, which was held at the University of Arkansas.
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“I was very pleased by the efforts for this early in the (indoor) season. We’ve been running in the halls at Cahokia High School, but its tough to really get an idea until you run on the track against good competition,’’ Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap said. “The one that really was a little bit of a surprise was the 400 meter relay team. To run 3:21.77 in the first meet of the season indoors is awfully fast. The old school record was I think 3:25.8. So we took more then four seconds off of that.
“But I think we can go even faster.’’ The 3:21.77 is the best in the state and is currently the fourth fastest time in the nation according to dyestat.com
Ward, a two-time individual state champion whose best efforts a year ago were well over 25 feet in the long jump and 52 feet in the triple jump, got his junior season off to a solid start with a good performance in Fayetteville.
“Jamari is stronger and he’s faster than he was a year ago,’’ Millsap said. “He’s right where he should be at this time of the year.’’
Other Cahokia athletes posting top 10 performances were senior Jamauri Hare who posted the second best time in the state in the 60 meter dash of 7.09 seconds and fourth best in the 200 meters of 22.73 seconds.
Junior Tyran Lyons’ time of 50.45 in the 400 meters ranks him second in the state, while senior Korrian Sessions’ mark of 8.32 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles is the best indoor mark in the state.
“Korrian didn’t play basketball this season so he could concentrate on track and field. He looks very good so far,’’ Millsap said.
Sessions is the brother of Belleville East standout William Sessions and the son of former East St. Louis track and field great Rodney Sessions.
The Comanches’ time of 8:10.4 in the 3,200 meter relay also is the best indoor mark of the season.