All year, he had taken aim at 50 feet in the triple jump. He came close twice, but Aaron Worrell didn't reach his goal until the final meet of his senior year.
Woodside's Worrell won the Group AAA indoor state championship with a jump of 49-7 1/2. Then in the Eastern Region meet outdoors, he reached 49-5 1/2.
Close, but not quite.
Then, in his first jump in the outdoor state meet, with adrenaline flowing and the knowledge this was his last state meet, he soared all the way to 51-5. He won the state championship by nearly two and a half feet.
"I knew it was over 50, but I didn't think it was over 51," said Worrell, who has accepted at track scholarship from the University of Virginia. "I didn't want to lose my last state meet. I was excited."
That performance and his season-long excellence in the triple jump make him the Daily Press' athlete of the year for boys outdoor track.
Consider this: As a University of Virginia recruit, had he made that same jump in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship this year, he would have won the event by seven inches. And that jump would have finished 10th in the NCAA championship meet.
At the state meet, his second jump of 49-11 was the second-best of the day. After that, Worrell passed on his final four attempts. He stayed ready, just in case, but the best runner-up Mustaqeem Williams of Forest Park managed was 48-11 1/2.
Worrell didn't limit himself to the triple jump. He was among the leaders in the long jump and high jump on the Peninsula this spring, plus he ran the 110- and 300-meter hurdles for the Wolverines.
But the triple jump was his specialty. He finished third in the Penn Relays behind two Jamaican jumpers in 48-3 1/4.
The 51-5 jump was his best, even in training, where he said he doesn't measure his jumps, but works on his technique.
"We had set a goal for him of 50 feet" in the state meet, said his coach, Jerel Williams. "After he jumped, we knew it was more than 50. It was remarkable."
His jump surpassed the previous state record of 51-2 1/4 by Phoebus' Alonzo Moore in 2001. That was the previous best on the Peninsula and he becomes only the fourth Peninsula jumper to reach 50 feet. The others were Moore, Menchville's Al Toon and Denbigh's Joey Smith.
Worrell will compete in a couple of meets later this summer, but will spend most of the time training and getting in shape for college.
Boys track and field All-Stars
100 METERS | Trenton Cannon | Kecoughtan | senior. He was the only area runner who broke 11 seconds this spring, running 10.92 in the Gloucester Invitational.
200 METERS | Ian Barrett | Warwick | junior. Although he didn’t qualify for the final, he ran 22.09 in the Group AAA state meet.
400 METERS | Christopher Short | Warhill | sophomore. He ran 49.50 in the Region I meet at Culpeper.
800 METERS | Derek Holdsworth | Lafayette | junior. He finished second in the Group AA state meet in 1:54.29, just slower than his season’s best of 1:54.20.
1,600 METERS | Kurtis Steck | Lafayette | senior. He ran the area’s best time by six seconds in winning the mile at the Southern Track Classic in 4:16.76. That translates into 4:15.27 in the 1,600-meter race.
3,200 METERS | Kurtis Steck | Lafayette | senior. He ran 9:08.49 in the Raleigh Relays, which was one of the best times in area history in the event.
110 HURDLES | Charles Graham | Phoebus | sophomore. He dominated this event on the Peninsula, turning in a season-best 14.01 in the Southern Track Classic.
300 HURDLES | Charles Graham | Phoebus | sophomore. He consistently ran under 40 seconds in the event and ran his best time of 38.47 in a meet in Woodbridge.
400 RELAY | Warwick (Ian Barrett, X’Saviar Murrell, Cardon Johnson, Jawann Banks). The group ran 43.13 in the Peninsula District meet.
1,600 RELAY | Hampton (Trey Pressley, Abdul Ellis, Zopella Barnes, Darius Green). They finished seventh in the state by running 3:21.46.
3,200 RELAY | Lafayette (Andrew Loper, Luke Tillis, Kurtis Steck, Derek Holdsworth). They were the only area team that broke eight minutes this spring, running 7:54.68 in the Region I meet.
HIGH JUMP | Marquis Childress | Smithfield | senior. He was consistently well over 6 feet during the spring, with a career-best clearance of 6 feet, 6 inches in the Gloucester Invitational.
POLE VAULT | Gabe Modzelewski | Jamestown | junior. He cleared 11-6 five times, including the Group AA state meet.
LONG JUMP | X’Saviar Murrell | Warwick | senior. He had the area’s best jump of 22-4 1/4 in the Eastern Region meet.
TRIPLE JUMP | Aaron Worrell | Woodside | senior. His amazing jump of 51-5 in the Group AAA state meet surpassed his previous best by nearly two feet.
SHOT PUT | Jaquan Hayes | Lafayette | senior. He led the area with a 46-9 put in the Group AA state meet, which was 19 inches better than his previous best.
DISCUS | Darron Patton | Lafayette | junior. He had a best throw of 145-8 in the Bay Rivers District meet.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun