NSAF’s Project Triple Jump introduces 7 newcomers, 1 returnee for 2019-20

by Steve Underwood

The NSAF’s Project Triple Jump, which began its eighth season last month in Sioux Falls, is thrilled to welcome seven outstanding newcomers – five juniors, a senior and a sophomore – to join its All-American returning senior for 2019-20. If the first weekend of the campaign in early August – held with the Sanford Sports Science Institute – is any indication, there will be some exciting development and results during the indoor and outdoor seasons ahead.

Athlete Profiles  |  Project Triple Jump Home Page  (check back soon for November clinic registration)

Jadan Hanson (Uniondale HS, NY) is the returning senior, coming off a year with consistent 49-footers and a 50-6 PR that put him on the podium (3rd) at NBNI. Christian Lewis (Frederick Douglass HS, KY) is the newcomer in the same class – just learning elite level triple jumping but with 25-7.25 long jump talent and also an NBN horizontal jump bronze (outdoors) in his pocket.

The other two first-year Project athletes on the boys side, both juniors, were the top two TJ sophs in the country for ’19. Floyd Whitaker (Highland HS, NJ) broke the 50-foot barrier (50-2.5) to win NJ Meet of Champs and Johnny Brackins (Lee’s Summit HS, MO) leapt 48-10.5 and captured the AAU JO title (15-16 y.o.) with a jump nearly as far. Both have tremendous potential.

The new girls’ quartet also features two juniors who were the #1-2 sophs in the U.S. from ’19. Jayla Brown (McEachern HS, GA, junior) leapt a PR of 41-0.5 at NBNO for 8th to claim the top spot among 10th-graders this past season, while Kendall Jordan (Cummings HS, NC) had a best of 40-7.5 to capture the AAU JO title (also 15-16 y.o.). Jade McDonald (Calabasas HS, CA, junior) brings in a best of 40-2.25 from ’18 when she was the nation’s best frosh – and has the top LJ PR of the group at nearly 20 feet. And finally, Cameran Gist (Spartanburg HS, SC) – the only current soph of the group – had the distinction of being the best 9th-grader in ’19 at 39-7.

Project Triple Jump was launched by, and is led to this day, by founding coach Peter Pratt – the Bahamian national coach who has hosted us several times in Nassau – and Project Coordinator Macka Jones, one of America’s elite coaches in the horizontal jumps. The Project has also been blessed since last year with the wisdom, inspiration and coaching of 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kenny Harrison – still the Olympic record-holder and #4 all-time – and its athletes have also been mentored at select clinics by former world-record holder Willie Banks.

The next Project Triple Jump clinic is planned for Nov. 14-17 in Metro Atlanta – that is, Heritage HS in Conyers, GA – but official registration information will soon appear on the NSAF’s Project home page, so check HERE in the days ahead.

The Seven Newcomers

Johnny Brackins – 48-10.5 PR

Lee’s Summit HS (MO) – Class of 2021
Brackins completed an outstanding soph campaign for ’19 with an AAU JO national title in July with a wind-legal PR of 48-5.5 (+1.6w; #4 soph U.S.), plus 2nd in the LJ at 24-0.5 … overall TJ PR came with Parker Invite victory in April at 48-10.5 (US#2 soph) … was unbeaten until runner-up finish at MO Class 5 state meet … he took 9th vs. much older competition at USA U-20s … in LJ, he was state champ, 3rd at Great SW, 6th at USA U20s and had a 25-1.25(nwi) PR (=US#3 overall) … also 2nd at state with 14.20 110H (-3.0w!)

Jayla Brown – 41-0.5 PR

McEachern HS (GA) – Class of 2021
Brown hit her PR at the right time, marking her first career 41-footer (41-0.5, +1.4w) to take 8th at NBNO (1st sophomore) … she won all but two of her meets in Georgia in ’19, including the Beach Run Invite (40-2) and 3-7A sectional (40-9), before getting 2nd at 7A state … she jumped at least 39 feet in her last eight meets of the season … improved by more than four feet from ’18 … LJ PR of 18-9.25 came in winning Georgia USATF JO meet … she has also broken 15 seconds in 100H (14.83) and placed 2nd in her region meet.

Cameran Gist – 39-7 PR

Spartanburg HS (SC) – Class of 2022
The only sophomore in Project Triple Jump’s new class, Gist impressed by winning her South Carolina 5A state title with a big PR 39-7 (-1.8w), leading all 9th-graders nationally for the 2019 season … coached as a youth by this year’s NSAF Mike Byrnes Coach of the Year, Glover Smiley … she was a 37-footer when she started the year, improving to 38-9 at the 5A qualifier before winning state … also has bests of 18-3 in the long jump (4th at state) – later taking 8th in the NBNO Emerging Elite LJ – and 5-0 in the high jump.

Kendall Jordan – 40-7.75 PR

Huge M. Cummings HS (NC) – Class of 2021
Jordan improved tremendously in the TJ in ’19, starting at 30 feet indoors and finishing in late July with a 40-7.75 PR (+1.4w) and the AAU JO national title for Durham Striders… ranked as the #2 soph in U.S. behind new teammate Brown … had 4 meets over 40 feet, including then-PR 40-5.75 for 10th at NBNO … also a stellar hurdler, she won the 100H, 300H and TJ in the NC 2A state meet … at AAU JOs, she also won the 100H and was 3rd in 400H (PR 1:01.26) … dipped under 14 with 13.99 at Russell Blunt meet in 100H.

Christian Lewis – 43-7 PR (25-7.25 LJ PR)

Frederick Douglass HS (KY) – Class of 2020
Even with little previous TJ experience, Lewis earned his spot based on outstanding long jumping and exciting potential shown in workouts as he started learning the event … leapt an outstanding 25-7.25 at a July club meet, #2 in the nation for ’19 … followed with runner-up performance at AAU JO nationals … repped Team NSAF in Cuba with 10th in the LJ, but rebounded for a big 3rd at NBNO with 24-6.25 … jumped 24-3.75 indoors in Nashville, then claimed 8th at NBNI … has won back-to-back KY AAA state titles.

Jade McDonald – 40-2.25 PR

Calabasas HS (CA) – Class of 2021
McDonald was a consistent 39-footer in ’19, with a best of 39-4.75 and a 7th-place finish at CIF state meet … it was a slight dropoff from her frosh year in ’18, when she hit 40-2.25 and was 6th at state and leapt 39-11.25 indoors for 9th at NBNI … but ’19 was a great year for her in the LJ, as she leapt 19-9.75 for 4th at state … she had four meets over 19 feet, including winning the prestigious Arcadia Invite at 19-8.25 … was a big part of the Calabasas shuttle relay crew and PR’d at 14.29 in her Southern Section D2 final for 2nd place.

Floyd Whitaker – 50-2.5 PR

Highland HS (NJ) – Class of 2021
Whitaker’s season reached a tremendous peak at the NJ Meet of Champs as he produced a stunning 50-2.5 PR victory (nwi), the top mark by a soph in the nation and a 2-foot PR … also had best legal TJ for a 10th-grader in ’19 with his 49-7(+1.6w) at NBNO for 8th … he had taken 2nd in Group 3 state with previous PR of 47-11.25, 1st loss of his season … he won the NBNO frosh TJ in ’18 with a 45-10.75 … other PRs include 22-1 LJ (4th Grp state) and 55.89 400H (4th South Grp sectional).

The Returnee

Jadan Hanson – 50-6 PR

Uniondale HS (NY) – Class of 2020
Hanson hit his first career 50-footer (50-6) and overall PR with fantastic timing, earning him the bronze at the 2019 NBNI – his first All-American honor … he had earlier won his NY indoor state title at 49-7.5 as he had four meets at 49 feet or better indoors … was also runner-up at Millrose Games … outdoors, he won the NY Relays and Eddy Games, while also taking 4th at the Penn Relays … repped Team NSAF in Cuba, scoring 7th in the TJ … has a pair of 10th-place finishes at NBNO … also holds PRs of 6-5 in HJ and 22-2.5 in LJ.

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