Illinois Boys Track & Field AOY: Ja’Mari Ward

Illinois Boys Track & Field AOY: Ja’Mari Ward

Gatorade State Player of the Year

Illinois Boys Track & Field AOY: Ja’Mari Ward

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The Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2014-15 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.

For the complete list of Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Ja’Mari Ward

THE BASICS

School: Cahokia (Ill.)
Grade: Junior
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 150 pounds

Athletic achievement: He won two individual events and contributed to two state-record relay clockings at the Class 2A state meet this spring, leading the Comanches to the state championship as a team. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Ward broke the state record in the long jump with a leap of 25 feet, 0.25 inches and won the triple jump with a mark of 50-6. He anchored the 4×100 relay quartet to a victory in 41.12 and ran the second leg on the 4×200 relay, which won in 1:25.83. Ward’s season-best triple jump of 51-11 ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2015 at the time of his selection, while his top long jump of 25-6.5 ranked No. 2.

Academic excellence: Ward has maintained a 3.67 GPA.

Exemplary character: He has served as an elementary school tutor and has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics as well as community clean-up initiatives.

THE PRAISE

“Ja’Mari is the type of kid who doesn’t like to lose,” said Cahokia head coach Leroy Millsap. “He’s very motivated and I think he’s going to break the high school world record in the long jump. The key is that he has to be healthy to do it.”

THE FUTURE: Ward will be a senior this fall.

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