NSAF 2015 Prep T&F Nat’l Rankings – Girls Jumps

by Steve Underwood

The following is the fourth of a series ranking the top athletes for the 2015 high school track and field season – from the first indoor meets back in December '14 through the final post-season affairs in August (but with a focus primarily on the outdoor season).  It also represents an attempt to create some of the deepest prep rankings available with some of the most detailed analysis.  These NSAF rankings, published for the first time last year, were produced by Steve Underwood, with input from Jim Spier.  They are generally based on the honors won, head-to-head competition and fastest times criteria popularized and used by Track and Field News, as well as other compilers, throughout the years.  This fourth entry in the series, Girls Jumps, was preceeded by Girls Throws, Boys Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15, and Girls Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15.

Triple Jump: Okoronkwo always near the top

1. Chinne Okoronkwo, Mountlake Terrace HS (WA) junior, US#7 41-10.25/42-1.25w
2nd NBNO, 3rd NBNI, 2nd USA Jrs (1st prep), 3rd Pan Am Jrs, 1st Arcadia, 1st Simplot, 1st 3A State

2. Tara Davis, Agoura HS (CA) soph, US#3 42-8.25
1st WY Trials, 9th WY Champs (3rd qf), 2nd State, 2nd Arcadia, 1st Texas R, 1st SS Masters

3. Kennedy Jones, Castro Valley HS (CA), US#4 42-5.25
1st USA JOs(17-18), 6th USA Jrs(3rd prep), 1st State, 1st NCS MOC, 2nd Mt SAC, 5th Arcadia

4. Asa Garcia, Texas City (HS) TX senior, US#2 43-2.25i
1st NBNI, 2nd Texas R, 1st 5A State, 3rd USA JOs(17-18), 1st TX MOC, 1st Reg. 3-5A

5. LaJarvia Brown, Alton HS (IL) junior, US#10 41-9.5
2nd WY Trials, 14th (qf) WY Champs, 1st Great SW, 1st AAU JOs(17-18), 1st 3A state

6. Christina Chenault, Carondelet HS (CA) senior, US#8 41-10
3rd USA Jrs (2nd prep), 3rd State, 2nd NCS MOC, 2nd Sac MOC, 3rd Arcadia, 9th Simplot

7. Bria Matthews, Forest Park HS (GA) senior, US#1 43-5.5
1st 5A State, 1st AAU Club, 1st Panther R, 1st Clayton Co., 1st Coaches Inv, 1st Reg. 4-5A

8. Kiara Williams, Homewood HS (AL) senior, US#9 41-9.75
1st NBNO, 1st 6A State (in/out), 1st Hewitt-Trussville Inv

9. Marie Josee’ Ebwea-Bile’, Benjamin Cardozo HS (NY), US#5 42-1.25
4th NBNI, 3rd Penn R (1st U.S.), 1st Loucks, 1st Mayor’s Cup, 1st State (i)

10. Domonique Panton, Freehold Twp HS (NJ) senior, 40-4i
3rd NBNO, 6th NBNI, 4th Penn R (2nd U.S.), 1st NB Games(i)

Analysis:  A few of the year’s furthest jumpers, namely Matthews and Garcia, competed very infrequently in the post-season or outside their state.  So it came down to who compiled the most consistent slate in the biggest meets and that was Okoronkwo – even if she really had just one big victory.  The NSAF Project Triple Jumper was in the top 3 in half a dozen major meets, including Arcadia and Simplot victories, had podium finishes at both NBN meets, and medal-winning performances at both USA Juniors and Pan Am Juniors.  All that came despite being just #7 on the combined indoor/outdoor list.  Davis was the best of 3 Californians, with a good string of 1st- and 2nd-place finishes, then peaking at the World Youth Trials and Champs, winding up US#2 outdoors.

Jones had a few invitational losses, but beat Davis and Chenault at state with her PR – and jumped well in the summer – to take the 3rd spot here.  Splitting Jones and Chenault are Garcia and Brown.  Garcia had the monster PR with her NBNI victory and won her state meet impressively, but lost at Texas Relays (to Davis) and JOs.  Brown – like Davis – PR’d at WY Trials and Champs, though she missed the final in Cali.  She also won Great Southwest and AAU JOs.  While Chenault beat Garcia at JOs and jumped well at Juniors, her overall record didn’t quite match the others.  Then comes Matthews in the #7 spot, with the big jump at state, but not facing any other contenders.  The final three here are Williams, who had a huge breakthrough to win NBNO; Ebwea-Bile’, who was consistently strong in and out before a late-season injury; and Panton, who shone at both NBN meets and Penn.

Long Jump:  Hall does it all

1. Kate Hall, Lake Region HS (ME) senior, US#1 HSR 22-5
1st NBNO, 1st NBNI, 1st New Englands (in and out), 1st Class B state (in/out), 1st RI Classic(i)

2. Courtney Corrin, Harvard Westlake HS (CA) junior, US#3 20-11/21-6.25w
2nd NBNO, 2nd NBNI, 1st USA Jrs, 2nd Pan Am Jrs, 1st State, 1st CSI, 1st Arcadia, 1st Mt SAC, 1st SS Masters

3. Samiyah Samuels, Cypress Springs HS (TX) junior, US#4 20-6.5/20-7.75w
2nd USA Jrs, 1st Pan Am Jrs, 1st 6A state, 1st Texas R, 1st TSU Relays

4. Tara Davis, Agoura HS (CA) soph, US#2 21-0.5
1st WY Champs, 1st WY Trials, 3rd State, 2nd Texas R, 1st SS Finals (D2), 2nd SS Masters

5. Margaux Jones, Redlands HS (CA) senior, US#7 20-4.25
3rd USA Jrs, 2nd State, 3rd SS Masters, 2nd SS Finals (D2), 2nd Mt SAC

6. Sydnei Murphy, Apex HS (NC) senior, US#9 20-3/20-4.5w
3rd NBNO, 4th NBNI, 1st 4A State (in/out), 1st Carolina R, 1st Apex R

7. Jeryne Fish, National Cathedral (DC) senior, 18-11.25/19-10.5w
4th NBNO, 8th USA Jrs (5th prep), 4th Penn R (2nd U.S.), 1st Va. Tech Inv(i), 15th NBNI

8. Taylor Woods, Riverdale Baptist (MD) junior, 19-6.5i
5th NBNO, 5th NBNI, 9th Penn R (6th U.S.), 6th AAU JOs(17-18), 7th WY Trials

9. Daloria Boone, Baldwin HS (GA) frosh, US#8 20-4
6th NBNO, 1st Taco Bell, 1st 4A State, 5th AAU JOs(15-16), 13th USA JOs, 1st USA Youth(i)

10. Kaylee Hinton, Rockwall HS (TX) senior, 19-6.5/19-10.5nwi
1st TX MOC, 4th 6A state, 3rd Texas R, 1st USA Jr (hept), 1st Rockwall R

Analysis:  If there was a single moment that blew away national followers of prep track and field in 2015, it was probably when Hall soared 22 feet and 5 inches on her final attempt of the NBNO girls’ LJ – topping Kathy McMillan’s 39-year-old prep record and coming from behind to capture a super battle with Corrin.  In a great year for the event, Hall didn’t have quite as many high-profile meets as some others, but claimed both NBN titles with her impressive leaps (US#1 indoors as well), as well as a pair of New England crowns.  Corrin, twice relegated to runner-up status behind Hall despite formidable jumps, won almost everything else.  She ruled the extremely tough California scene without a loss through, then after NBNO went on to prevail at Juniors before USA teammate Samuels prevailed at Pan Ams.  Samuels, in turn, was nearly perfect in Texas before her impressive post-season and gets #3 here.

It’s hard to believe that World Youth champ Davis merits “only” #4 on this list.  The soph’s final jump triumph in Cali was as impressive in its own way as Hall’s record leap.  She just wasn’t quite at the level of Corrin and Samuels when she met them, head-to-head.  Bearing more evidence of the brutal Golden State competition is Jones, coming in at #5 despite a 20-4.25 best and 4 meets over 20 feet.  Next is Murphy, who leapt well in both NBN meets.  In fact, the next three rankings spots after Murphy follow NBNO order, with Fish, Taylor and Boone all having some good backup on top of their 4-5-6 finish in Greensboro.  Finally, there’s Hinton, who’s best-known as the heptathlon leader but went 19 feet or further on 9 different occasions.

High Jump:  Unforgettable season for Cunningham

1. Vashti Cunningham, Bishop Gorman HS (NV) junior, US#1 HSR 6-5
1st USA Jrs, 1st Pan Am Jrs, 1st Arcadia, 1st Mt SAC, nh 4A state

2. Nicole Greene, Ponte Vedra HS (FL) senior, US#2 6-1.5
1st NBNO, 1st NBNI, 1st CSI, 1st Golden South, 1st 3A State, 1st Bob Hayes, 1st Florida R

3. Alexandria Florent, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA) senior, US#6 5-11.25
2nd USA Jrs, 3rd NBNO, 5th Pan Am Jrs, 4th State, 4th Arcadia, 5th Mt SAC, 1st Mt Carmel

4. Janae’ Moffitt, Oak Hill HS (IN) senior, US#5 5-11.75
1st State, 1st MW MOC, 1st USA Yth(i), 1st Hoosier State R, 1st Marion R

5. Tyra Gittens, Ensworth HS (TN) soph, =US#3 6-0
1st AAU JOs(17-18), 1st D2 state, 1st Great 8 Inv, 1st Hartman R, 1st Hill Center

6. Alexus Henry, Bridge City HS (TX) senior, =US#3 6-0
1st Texas R, 1st 4A State, 1st Vidor R, 1st Reg 4A-3, 1st 4A Area 23-24

7. Erin Beattie, Buena HS (CA) senior, =US#9 5-10
1st State, 2nd Arcadia, 1st SS Masters, 1st SS Finals (D2)

8. Madison Yerigan, Stanwood HS (WA) junior, =US#9 5-10
1st WY Trials, 2nd USA JOs(17-18), 1st 3A state, T-15th (q) WY Champs

9. Faith Penny, East Islip HS (NY) senior, 5-9.75
2nd NBNO, 5th NBNI, 2nd State, 5th Penn R (3rd U.S.), 1st State (i)

10. Ellyanna Long, The Woodlands HS (TX) junior, 5-9.5
6th USA Jrs(3rd prep), 1st 6A state, 1st Reg 2-6A, 4th Texas R

Analysis:  After a few years of passing up international opportunities, Cunningham made her Team USA debut special with her 2nd HSR of the year in Edmonton.  It capped off a stellar 2015 where she also claimed the USA Junior gold, defended her Arcadia and Mt. SAC titles (the latter with her 1st HSR at 6-4.25) and had a mind-boggling 9 meets at 6-2 or better.  Cunningham’s spectacular campaign dovetailed with a mediocre year for U.S. women in the event, such that the Bishop Gorman junior was the highest-jumping American female – period – in 2015.  Greene is an equally easy pick at #2, sweeping the NBN championships, CSI, and establishing great consistency over 6-0.  At #3, Florent had a great end-of-year flourish, making top 3 at both NBNO and Juniors, and joining Cunningham at Pan Ams in 5th.

Moffitt and Gittens rank 4-5, with Gittens’ having a slightly better PR, but Moffitt prevailing on depth of performances and doing a bit more at the multi-state level.  Henry and Beattie ruled Texas and California, respectively (Beattie lost only to Cunningham at Arcadia), but did not venture beyond – and Henry had better marks to rank #6.  Penny is #8, with the best combination of NBN finishes after Greene.  Her best was short of 5-10, but she PR’d in both nationals.  Yerigan won the WY Trials and was 2nd at JOs.  Long rounds out the top 10, with a solid USA Juniors finish backing up her work in Texas.

Pole Vault:  Lexi edges Tori

1. Lexi Weeks, Cabot HS (AR) senior, US#1 HSR 14-7.5
1st July 4 Freedom, 1st AR MOC, 2nd NBNO, 2nd Great SW, 1st McDonnell Inv, 1st 7A state, 1st AR USATF(i), 1st Arkansas Inv(i)

2. Tori Weeks, Cabot HS (AR) senior, US#2 14-4i HSR
2nd July 4 Freedom, 2nd AR MOC, 1st NBNO, 1st Great SW, 1st School’s Out(i), 1st 7A state(i)

3. McKenzie Shell, Port Huron Northern HS (MI), =US#3 13-9
3rd NBNO, 6th USA Jrs (3rd prep), 1st MW MOC, 1st D1 state, =1st Reno Summit, nh NBNI

4. Kristen Denk, North Royalton HS (OH) senior, US#5 13-8.5i
1st NBNI, =3rd USA Jrs (1st prep), 4th NBNO, 1st D1 State, 5th Reno Summit (#2), 2nd MW MOC

5. Kaitlyn Merritt, Santa Margarita HS (CA), =US#6 13-7
1st Arcadia, 8th USA Jrs (4th prep), 1st State, 1st SS Masters, 1st SS D3 Finals, =1st Reno Summit

6. Meagan Gray, Buda Hays HS (TX) senior, =US#3 13-9
2nd NBNI, 10th USA Jrs (6th prep), 1st 6A state, 3rd Texas R, 4th Reno Summit

7. Laura Marty, Blanchet HS (WA) junior, =US#6 13-7
5th USA Jrs (2nd prep), 2nd 3A state, 1st Pasco Inv, 4th Texas R, 1st Metro

8. Margaret Ollinger, McGill-Toolen Catholic (AL) junior, US#10 13-6.25
=5th NBNO, 1st Mobile CoC, 1st 7A state (in/out), 1st Mtn Brook Inv, 1st Sugar Bowl

9. Carson Dingler, 1st Presbyterian (GA) soph, =US#11 13-6
1st WY Trials, 10th WY Champs, nh NBNO, 1st AAU JOs(15-16), 1st USA JOs, 2nd Mobile CoC

10. Anna Eaton, Apex HS (NC) senior, 13-3.5
=5th NBNO, 4th NBNI, 1st Carolina R, 1st 4A state, 4th Taco Bell, 5th Golden South

Analysis:  The Weeks twins ruled the pole vault in ’15, from the first weekend of the year when they each cleared 14 feet to the final attempts in Greensboro when they closed out their careers.  It took until June when they finally ventured beyond their home state, but their two trips were very successful, with 1-2 finishes at both Great Southwest and NBNO.  And speaking of those two meets, Tori Weeks’ victories there made the rankings very close.  But Lexi earned the top spot for 3 reasons:  Her 14-7.25 outdoor HSR in their final meet of the year, her 11-5 advantage in head-to-head competition, and her consistency of performances (Lexi was over 14 feet seven times and 13-6 fourteen times, compared to 3/10 for Tori). 

Shell and Denk are also very close for the 3-4 spots.  Denk had a massive NBNI victory while Shell no-heighted, and was ahead of her on misses at Juniors.  But Shell similarly had the upper hand at NBNO and two other occasions.  Merritt is #5, having a near-perfect record in California and a better-than-it-seems 8th at Juniors (2nd-8th all cleared 13-5.25).  Gray scaled 13-9 and was 2nd behind Denk at NBNI, but her outdoor slate wasn’t quite as strong.  Marty, 5th in the Juniors logjam and with a few losses, takes the next spot.  Ollinger and Eaton tied for 5th at NBNO, but the Alabamian’s better overall slate landed her two spots higher.  Dingler, the World Youth Trials champ, 10th in Cali, and with a sweep of the JOs (15-16), takes #9.

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