With so many certifying bodies and categories, verifying a national triple jump record isn’t as simple as it seems.
But, make no mistake, Cahokia senior Ja’Mari Ward is the new record holder according to the National Federation of State High School Association’s National Record Book.
Ward registered the record jump of 53 feet 7 1/2 inches in the triple jump at the St. Clair County Meet at Belleville West Thursday. Regarded by some as the premier high school track and field athlete in the nation, Ward’s jump on his third attempt broke the previous mark of 52 feet 10 1/2 inches set in 1980 by Charles Mayfield of Acardia, Calif.
Ward’s effort is well short of the mark the 54 feet 10 inches turned in by Kenny Hall of Baton Rouge, La. during the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Championships in 2004. By that measure, Ward’s jump would still be the fifth best all-time by a pre-college athlete.
But Hall did not complete that jump during an interscholastic competition.
“Ja’Mari’s jump was a legal jump and it will be recognized as a national high school record because it came during a high school competititon,’’ Commanches coach Leroy Millsap said. “The 54 feet 10 inch jump came in a USA Track and Field competition.’’
The record jump was just one of many highlights for Ward who in addition to the triple jump mark broke his own state record in the long jump with an effort of 25 feet 6 3/4 inches. Ward also won the 100 and 200 meter championships.
A University of Missouri recruit, Ward will compete along with the five-time defending Class 2A state champion Comanches on May 7 at the Collinsville Invitational.