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boys jumps | 07-08 most outstanding performers

This is the eleventh of a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2007-08. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series, which follows the DyeStat Athlete of the Year awards, includes top honors for boys and girls distances, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, relays, and multi-events. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account..

Text by Dave Devine - Photos by Vic Sailer and John Nepolitan

Marquise Goodwin

Despite Christian Taylor’s triple-gold performance at the 2008 NSIC and his sterling outdoor season, the most decorated jumper in the nation this year was arguably Rowlett TX junior Marquise Goodwin.  The Texas leaper was a national long jump champion indoors at Nike Indoor Nationals, a national outdoor champ at USATF Junior Nationals, and the World Junior Champion in the long jump and the 4x100 relay in Bydgoszcz, Poland.  No one else can lay claim to that kind of sustained, elite-level performance.

Goodwin may have been a relative unknown when he won the NON long jump title as a precocious sophomore in 2007, but he wasn’t sneaking up on anyone in 2008.  He waged a limited indoor campaign, but still arrived at the Nike Indoor Nationals as a prohibitive favorite (with US-leader Christian Taylor leaping up north at NSIC), and preceded to win the title on his first jump of the competition.  That 24-9 effort was a career best at that point, and left Goodwin US#2 on the season, behind Taylor.  For good measure, he also flexed his short sprint muscles with a 6.80 third-place finish in the NIN 60 meter dash.

Goodwin followed that brief undercover crusade with a great outdoor regular season which included mostly in-state performances in Texas.  At the Texas 5A State Meet he unleashed a jaw-dropper with his windy 26-01.50 (+2.6) long jump that was the first 26-footer under any condition since 1994.  The rest of the meet was a clinic in point accumulation, as he reached 50-00.50 (+2.2w) for gold in the triple jump, a 10.38 100 meter silver, and legs on the US#1 4x100 winner and third-place 4x200.  That Texas triumph was followed by a 25-00.00 win at the USATF Junior Nationals over preps like Christian Taylor and Bryce Lamb that punched his ticket to the World Junior meet in Poland.  There, Goodwin made the most of his international opportunity, flying to a wind-legal PR of 25-04.75 (+1.0) en route to a long jump world title, and then pairing that gold with a leg on the winning US 4x100 relay.  With a year left to go in his prep career, the sky is literally the limit for this talented Texas star.

Christian Taylor

Last summer, Sandy Creek GA senior Christian Taylor was among the talented corps of underclass athletes who represented the US at the World Youth Games and used that experience to propel themselves to record-setting senior seasons.  In Taylor’s case, he emerged as perhaps the most versatile track threat in the nation, equally dangerous in the long sprints and the jumps.  Who else had the capacity to lead the country in both the 400 and the horizontal leaps?  At the 2008 NSIC national meet in New York, Taylor cemented his status as one of the top tracksters in the US with a dominant triple-gold performance which included a US#1 47.42 400 over the best indoor field assembled last winter, a US#1 25-06.75 long jump title, and a 51-03.00 triple jump win only slightly off the US#1, #3 all-time mark of 52-00.00 he’d recorded earlier in the season.   The trifecta left him US#1 in three events for the winter, and poised for an equally-promising outdoor season.

The apex of Taylor’s outdoor season may have come at his Georgia 3A State Meet, where he stormed to five golds, contributing to almost all of Sandy Creek’s 55.5 state-winning total.  The eye-popping weekend featured a US#1 52-06 (nwi) TJ, a US#2 25-06 (nwi) LJ, a 46.60 400, and legs on winning 41.50 4x100 and 3:19.21 4x400 relays.  There may have been no more dominating state meet performance by an individual in the country last spring. 

Taylor followed up that revelation with a US#1 triple jump silver at the US Junior Nationals (52-08.00 +1.2) behind collegian Austin Davis, and a bronze in the long jump (24-11.25 -2.1).  He contested both events at the World Junior Championships in Poland, running into some highly competitive fields.   His 51-02.75 in the second round of the triple jump finals left him eighth at the conclusion of the competition, while he managed seventh in the long jump with a leap of 24-03.75.  Bound for the University of Florida, his versatility and seemingly boundless potential make him one to watch at the next level.

Nico Weiler

The best pole vaulter in the United States this year nearly didn’t make it back to the country for his senior campaign.  Nico Weiler, a German exchange student at Los Gatos CA his junior year, and the nation’s #2 vaulter in the spring of 2007, seemed destined to spend 2007-08 in his homeland after visa snags made a return to California unlikely.  Some last-minute maneuvering and lobbying brought him back to US shores just in time for the start of the school year, and kicked off a senior push that saw him lead the vault lists both indoors and out.

Weiler served notice that he hadn’t missed a beat with his 17-02.00 opener at the early-winter Reno Pole Vault Summit, and then wowed the crowd at Pocatello, Idaho’s Simplot Games with an equally-soaring 17-02.00 victory there.  Expectations were high at Simplot for a possible assault on Pat Manson’s 1986 national indoor record of 17-06.50, achieved at the very same Simplot venue.  Indeed, Manson was on hand to help pass the torch, and watched as Weiler raised the bar to 17-7 and took two very good tries before calling it a day.  The German star’s next attempt at the record came at NSIC in New York, where he dispatched with the competition on his very first jump, entering at 16-05.50 after the rest of the field had failed to reach that height, and then pressing on from there to a meet record 17-00.75.  His NSIC effort culminated with three more game attempts at 17-7—the last one agonizingly close—but Manson’s record lived to see another year.

Outdoors, Weiler’s highlight performance was likely the Arcadia Invitational, where he racked up another meet record with his seasonal best of 17-04.00, and siphoned a measure of the attention away from the scintillating distance performances unfolding on the track.  The only reliable 17-footer of the year, Weiler again topped that height with his 17-03.00 win at the California state meet, cementing his status as one of the best vaulters to ever compete in the Golden State.

Honorable Mention

Erik Kynard – Rogers Toledo OH junior Erik Kynard emerged during the indoor season as the most consistent 7-footer in the country, including a US#1 7-03.75 at the Findlay OH Invitational and a season-capping 7-00.25 title at Nike Indoor Nationals.  Outdoors, Kynard was just as reliable, but unable to duplicate the spring-loaded effort that saw him sail over 7-03 undercover.  He won the Ohio Division 1 title while Ryan Fleck was taking D2, then fell to Fleck at USATF Junior Nationals.  His indoor mark secured him a place in the Olympic Trials, but he was an early exit with his 7-00.50 clearance in the prelims.  He faced a similar outcome at the World Juniors a week later, where his 6-10.75 wasn’t quite enough to advance to the finals. 

Ryan Fleck – In a year devoid of a truly dominant high jumper, Napoleon OH senior Ryan Fleck was as good as most, hitting his PR 7-02 at the Midwest Meet of Champions after taking the Ohio Division 2 state title at 7-01.50.  His name-maker, however, came at the USATF Junior Nationals, where he took the national title with a 7-01.50 clearance that topped Nike Indoor National champion Erik Kynard’s 7-00.25 silver medal performance.  At World Juniors his 6-08.75 failed to make it out of the prelims.

Ricky Robertson – Hernando MS junior Ricky Robertson scaled a US#1 7-03.00 high jump at his Mississippi Division 2 4A meet, and had another effort of 7-2 earlier in the season, but didn’t appear in any major post-season events, leaving the high school track world to wonder what might have happened if he’d joined Kynard and Fleck in Ohio for the USATF Junior Championships. 

Bryce Lamb & Will Claye – One of the more compelling individual rivalries in the country is the Arizona horizontal jumps battle between Chandler’s Bryce Lamb and Mountain Pointe’s Will Claye.  Both are juniors, so the nation gets another helping next year, but 2008 provided plenty to chew on.  The first big meeting took place at the Chandler Rotary Invite, where Lamb used homefield advantage to take a pair of wins with a then-US#2 24-09 LJ and US#1 50-0 TJ.  Claye was runner-up in 24-03 and 49-11.  From there, Claye grabbed an impressive double at the Arcadia Invite, taking the long jump in 24-01.25 (+1.3), and reaching 51-07.50 (+0.0) in the triple for US#1 at that point in the season.

The two were at it again at the Arizona 5A State Meet, where Lamb took the long jump in (for him) a modest 23-11.25, but was then topped by Claye’s monstrous US#1 52-04.75 TJ, a mark which overshadowed Lamb almost-as-impressive 52-02.00.  In the post-season, Lamb took the Great Southwest long jump in a gale-force 6.1 wind, hitting 25-09.25 (with Claye 5th at 24-06.50) and Claye was runner-up in the triple at 51-00.25 (with Lamb 7th).   Lamb went on to record a pair of fourth-place finishes at Junior Nationals, including a wind-legal PR of 51-08.50 (+1.7) in the TJ, and sweep the jumps at the USATF Youth Championships in North Carolina.  Claye was scheduled to compete at Junior Nationals, but did not jump, instead wrapping up his successful junior year with a USATF Junior Olympics TJ win in Omaha, hitting 51-06.50 (+1.7) for the gold over NON champ Omar Craddock.

Year-End Awards Index