Cahokia junior Ja’Mari Ward, who is the top-ranked high school thinclad in the nation in both the long jump and triple jump, won’t be jumping anywhere for a couple of weeks.
Cahokia boys track coach Leroy Millsap said Monday that Ward will not jump in the Comanches’ final two regular season meets but that he is healthy after rolling his right anke while preparing to compete in the triple jump at the Clayton (Mo.) Invitational on Saturday.
Ward, who captured the long jump earlier in the competition with a leap of 25-feet-1-inch, suffered the injury when he stepped off the runway while preparing for his first attempt in the triple jump.
“The runway at Clayton is shorter then most and when Ja’Mari was lining up his steps for the triple jump he stepped off the runway and rolled his ankle,” Millsap said. “He’s fine. It’s not the same ankle he hurt at the state meet a year ago. In fact, Ja’Mari’s probably running up and down the halls right now as we speak.”
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Millsap said that Ward will not even be in attendance when the Comanches compete in the Collinsville Invitational on Saturday and could possible run in relay events at the South Seven Conference Meet on May 13.
The next time Ward will compete in the long jump and triple jump will be at the Class 2A Triad Sectional on May 21. The Class 2A State Track and Field Meet is May 29-30 in Charleston.
“The reason Ja’Mai isn’t jumping has nothing to do with anything with injuries. Ja’Mari is healthy,” Millsap said. “The reason he isn’t jumping at Collinsville is because his older brother La’Derrick is graduating from SIU Edwardsville that day and it’s a big deal for Ja’Mari to be at his graduation.”
Even without Ward’s points in the triple jump on Saturday, Cahokia still managed to defeat perennial Missouri state power Blue Springs, the defending Class 4 state champions, for the title. The Comanches won the event despite having just one champion — Keveion Akins — in the 200 meters. Cahokia finished with 160 points compared to 130 for Blue Springs.
“We had just the two individual titles with Ja’Mari and Keveion. But our relay teams ran very well and our depth paid off,” Millsap said. “Blue Springs was loaded with several top-ranked kids in their different events.. But I was happy at how we competed against and beat a top program. It helps us get ready for state.”
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.