Jerel Morrow wanted to get a mark of at least 22 feet in the long jump Friday at the Kansas Classic at Welch Stadium. He got much more than he bargained for on his first attempt of the day.
Morrow, a sophomore, jumped 24-feet-1/2, a new personal best which also broke the school record by more than a foot. Morrow took the boys long jump crown at the meet, jumping more than two feet better than second-place finisher and Emporia teammate Brandon Gentz.
“I knew it felt good, but I didn’t know it would be that good,” Morrow said.
After a first attempt that exceeded his expectations, Morrow said he looked to remain consistent rather than jump even better on subsequent attempts. He managed to keep posting marks of more than 22 or 23 feet, but never improved on his first attempt.
Gentz said he wasn’t surprised Morrow posted such a mark in the long jump, only that it happened so early in the season.
“I don’t know what the state record is, I think it’s like 24-10 (Wichita South’s Veryl Crawford holds the state meet record at 24-11 3/4.)” Gentz said. “But I’m sure he’ll beat that by the time he’s a senior. Like I said, couldn’t have happened to a better kid, he’s really humble.”
The Kansas Classic is a two-day meet which is scheduled to continue today. Friday’s portion featured preliminaries and finals for about half the field events, the finals for the 3,200-meter run, and preliminaries in most other running events. Today’s portion is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and will feature the remaining field events and finals for most of the running events.
EHS also claimed a heat win in the boys 4x400-meter relay. After taking the baton from Gentz, anchor runner Tyler Tilton edged out runners from two other schools to come back and lead the Spartans to a first-place finish in their preliminary heat with a time of 3:35.48. EHS is seeded third for today’s finals race, tentatively scheduled for 2:55 p.m.
“It gives us a lot of confidence to know we’re just as good as every other team here,” Tilton said of winning the heat. “It just makes it so we can compete better.”
Ethan Pearson also brought in a boys field event title for EHS, winning pole vault by more than a foot-and-a-half with a mark of 14-9. Pearson already holds the Emporia school record at 15-2, and made an attempt to break it Friday by going 15-3. His three attempts at 15-3 failed, so he will have to wait another week to try to improve his record.
Collin Thomsen took second in the boys javelin final, posting a mark of 167-9. Gentz took second in the long jump by posting a mark of 21-11 3/4. EHS had three top-five finishers in the boys long jump as J.L. Savage finished fourth at 21-4 1/4. Morrow also finished fifth in the 200-meter dash preliminaries with a time of 23.18 seconds. Jack Heim took fifth in the boys 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:16.58.
On the girls side, Sarah Kolmer finished second in the triple jump finals with a mark of 37-3. Kolmer also qualified for today’s finals in the 200 and 400-meter runs. She ran the best overall time in the 400-meter preliminaries at 1:00.88 and her time of 25.99 seconds was third overall in the 200-meter dash preliminaries.
Makenzie Lahman finished fourth in girls shot put with a mark of 102-5. Alex Griffin took fifth in girls shot put at 33-6 1/2.