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boys jumps | 08-09 most outstanding performers

This is the fourth of a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2008-09. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series, which precedes 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 SteveU - Photos by Johnny Haddock and John Nepolitan

Marquise Goodwin

With one mighty leap at legendary Hayward Field, Goodwin made sure that no serious track fan will ever forget his prep career.  Entering 2009, the Rowlett TX senior had done almost everything in the long jump – winning NIN, NON, USATF Junior, and even World Junior titles.  He was unbeaten his sophomore and junior years.  But while he had plenty of 25 footers and a windy 26-footer that put him #5 all-time on that list, a big legal mark would cement his legacy.  Few could have anticipated just how big that would be.

Goodwin started his season in January with a very strong double at Carl Lewis, sprinting the 60 in 6.76 and long jumping 25-01.25.  Even though he didn’t compete again indoors – deciding to compete outdoors with his teammates during nationals weekend – his LJ held up as #1 all winter and his 60 as #5.  Outdoors, Goodwin’s season heated up at the Texas Relays, where he doubled the LJ (25-02.75w, plus US#1 24-10.75 w/1.0w) and TJ (then-US#1 49-10.50, +1.2w), was 2nd in the 100, and anchored relay 1st and 2nd-place finishes.  At his region meet, he improved to 25-06.25w and 50-03w, as well as 10.45 for 100 (2nd).

At the “swine flu”-delayed Texas State meet, Goodwin almost single-handedly led Rowlett to victory, getting his first legal 26-footer (26-01.25, +1.8), plus a windy 26-04.75.  He also won the TJ at 50-05.75w, blazed to runner-up finishes in the 100 (10.24w) and 200 (21.24w), and anchored his team’s 40.86 4x100 winners.  Then he got ready for USATF … Seniors.

Then, on Saturday, June 27, Goodwin went from being a very, very good jumper/sprinter to a USR-holder.  Facing the Junior and Senior USATF competition on the same day, he used just one jump to win the Junior event (26-01.50w), then went to battle against American’s top elites.  On his third jump, following a foul and a 26-03w, Goodwin eclipsed the USR with his legendary 26-10.  After that, he cramped up, having to pass the rest of his attempts while in 2nd place … in the USATF Senior Championships.  He would finish 5th, just two inches from making Team USA for the World Champs in Berlin.  Instead, he’s on Team USA for the Pan Am Juniors, where he’ll make the final jumps of an unforgettable career.

Jack Whitt

The final meet of Whitt’s 2008 season saw him erroneously credited with a 17-02.75 pole vault at the USATF Junior Olympics, which would have made him the #2 vaulter in the country.  The reality was that he cleared 16-08.75 in a jumpoff.  Of course, Whitt himself knew the truth – but what happened in 2009 would seem particularly just if it was otherwise, if he had somehow felt wronged, because the Norman North OK senior cleared 17 so many times that it became routine.

The first 17-footer came just three days into 2009, when he made it over the barrier at the Reno Vault Summit.  He went on to win at Arkansas, Texas Tech, and Carl Lewis in Houston, and eventually raised his PR to 17-02 at the Gudgen Invite.  At that point, Whitt was looking like someone who could continue to inch up into the mid-17s … so when the results of the March 7 Putnam City Invite outdoors popped up, a lot of eyes popped out.  Whitt had jacked his PR up to 17-10.75, rocketing up to #7 on the all-time list and making 18 much, much closer.

Whitt’s ultimate showcase wound up being the Texas Relays.  Before a huge crowd, he soared 18-00.25, moving up to #5.  He didn’t quite top Tommy Skipper’s mark, missing 18-03.25, but he did set the stage for two more months of attempts at that height.  While Whitt is still trying, and still has the Pan Am Juniors and/or JO competition to take shots, he spent the rest of the spring continuing to dominate and rack up the 17-footers.  He now reportedly has cleared the mark 20 times, including Golden South (17-10), Great Southwest (17-02.75), NON (17-08.25), and USATF Jrs (17-02.75).  While there’s no official record of # of 17-footers in a season, there’s no doubt that Whitt’s senior year is one of the all-time best in the sport.

Erik Kynard

One of the marks of a great athletes is making the exceptional seem routine, and while seven feet continues to be the gold standard for prep high jumpers, it’s just another day at the office for Kynard.  The Toledo Rogers senior took care of that barrier in the first meet of his sophomore year; since then, it’s been a long, long process of trying to add inches, then fractions of an inch … and in doing so, Kynard has carved out a pretty great career – and senior year.

Kynard started 2009 fast, hitting 7-02.50 the first weekend in January, just over an inch off his PR.  A 2008 Olympic Trials participant, he continued throughout the winter close to that level, but it was at Nike Indoor that he got up to 7-03, his 2nd best performance ever.  At that meet, his maturity was evident as – in a situation where the event drug beyond the rest of the meet – he tried to rouse the small audience that was left in Boston, not just when he was jumping, but when others were as well, somewhat carrying the whole event on his tall shoulders.

The best meet of the season, actually the year to date, for Kynard came a few weeks later at a late March indoor affair in Michigan, where he finally took down his January 2008 PR and escalated up to 7-04.50.  He added a 23-05.75 LJ for good measure.  Outdoors, finally faced with a rival higher than him, he battled new 7-05.75 performer James White at Nike Outdoor, strategically using passes and taking the duel with 7-03.25.  Earlier in the spring, he had jumps of 7-03.50 and 7-02.75, and improved his LJ to 24-03 nwi.  Finally, at USATF Jrs, he suffered his only major defeat, clearing 7-00.75 and placing 2nd to Ricky Robertson MS, but still earned another chance to jump at Pan Am Jrs.

Bryce Lamb

Though he didn’t contest either of the national outdoor meets (NON or USATF Jrs), Lamb still made a good argument for himself as the nation’s best combo long and triple-jumper with a season that included other major wins, US leaders, and few defeats.  The Chandler AZ sr didn’t have in-state rival Will Claye to push him as Claye graduated early and headed to Oklahoma, but he still made the most of his opportunities in the biggest Arizona meets, as well as beyond.

Though he didn’t have any previous indoor meets, Lamb headed to New York for NSIC in mid-March, with the outdoor season having already begun in Arizona.  There, he claimed the long jump in 24-05, which would rank him #4 US for the year, and was 2nd in the TJ at 48-11.50, for US#6.  He hoped to have a really monster meet at the big Chandler Rotary Invite, and while he swept the LJ (24-02.25) and TJ (48-07.75), and was 2nd and 4th in the 100 and 200, it wasn’t quite what he was hoping for.

What Lamb was hoping for in the TJ had to wait until state several weeks later, when he popped a US#1 52-06.25 (-0.5w).  That held up as the US leader through the post-season and is #16 all-time US.  His huge LJ would come at Great Southwest, where he PR’d at 25-10.75 (+1.5w), second only to Marquise Goodwin on the US list, and #13 all-time US.  He added the TJ win at 50-05.50 (+0.8).  His combination of US rankings in those two events is second to none.  Only Joe Richardson CA, in 1984, has a higher ranking in both events on the all-time lists.

Honorable Mention

Ricardo Jacquite – Though he never quite met his goal of 50 feet, or got to match up against the nation’s other 50-footers outdoors, Jacquite compiled a very strong big meet record in the triple jump this winter and spring.  At Nike Indoor, he was 2nd only to David Wilson VA, reaching 49-11.  In April, he captured one of the biggest titles of the spring when he won Penn Relays at 49-01.50 (-0.5w).  Finally, at Nike Outdoors, the Madison Park MA junior again knocked at the 50-foot door with a 49-10 (+1.5w), and topped another good field.

James White – With amazing hops for someone barely six feet tall, White came into 2009 having cleared 7-01 as a soph, but no one was ready for what he very suddenly did in eight days in mid-April: three meets at 7-03 or better, including 7-03.25 to win the Kansas Relays and 7-05.75 at a local invite for #3 all-time.  While the Grandview MO junior wouldn’t reach those heights again this spring, he twice hit 7-02 and then 7-01.75 to take second to Erik Kynard at NON.  He’ll go into 2010, as a senior, with as good a chance as anyone at breaking national records, both indoors and outdoors.

Damar Forbes – Forbes was definitely among the most disappointed athletes at NIN this winter, lying prone next to the long jump runway in dismay and disbelief after finishing second in an event where he was a pretty solid favorite.  Still, he’d wind up US#3 for the winter at 24-07.50.  Outdoors, he was unable to improve, but jumped consistently in the mid-24s.  Consistency, it turns out, counted most for the Lithonia King GA sr at Nike Outdoor, where he went 24-04.50 (+0.0w), beat 25-footer James Taylor VA, and finally topped the podium.

Chase Cooper – Next to Whitt, the list sky-scraping pole vaulters seemed a little light this year, with only Sam Ewing AR also clearing 17 indoors and Cooper achieving the feet outdoors.  Cooper, in fact, went over 17 three times outdoors, including 17-04.75 at his league meet.  He also won state at 17-00, Kansas Relays at 16-09.25, and was 2nd at Great Southwest to Whitt, but missed nationals due to injury.  Indoors, however, the Smoky Hill CO senior leapt 16-00 at Nike Indoors to beat Ewing and claim that title.

Year-End Awards Index