With track season just a few weeks away it is time for our fifth edition of athletes to watch for the 2021 track season, and are going to take a look at the horizontal jumps. For these articles I will be taking into account any marks recorded in 2019 or 2020, and will do my best to predict what class athletes will compete in.
Heading into the 2021 season Kiara Strayhorn (Capital City) is the top returner in the girls long jump with a personal best of 19-5. This season will be the first season of outdoor track at Capital City High School in Jefferson City, and she very well could become its first state champion in this event, or in the hurdles. Cali Essikck (Branson) jumped 19-3 last summer as well and will look to compete with Stayhorn in Class 5. Marshaun Bostic (Gateway) is the only other girl returning to have jumped of 19, and returns with a personal best of 19-2.5. Some other athletes to watch include Leah North (St. Teresa's), Alohilani Bursey (St. Clair), and Akilah Heffner (Trinity Catholic).
It should come as a surprise to no one that Johnny Brackins (Lee's Summit) is the top returner in the boys long jump heading into 2021. His personal best of 25-1 is nearly three feet farther than anyone else in Missouri, and is the third best returning long jump in the United States heading into the season. The Missouri All-Class Record is 26-1.5 set by Todd Trimble (KC Southeast), and that could be a target for Brackins this spring. Other boys to watch include Marquis Johnson (Poplar Bluff), Erick Hill (Rockhurst), Myles Norwood (Trinity Catholic), Aarnarian Snow (Orchard Farm), and Cameron Jones (Pattonsburg).
In the girls triple jump defending Class 3 State Champ Brooke Moore (Trinity Catholic) has the top returning jump with a 38-8.5. She'll look to repeat as champion this year, but will likely be in Class 4 due to the new class system. She'll be matching up with Benza Barafundi (Rockwood Summit) who is the second best returner with a jump of 37-8.75 and was the runner up in Class 4 in 2019. Other athletes to watch include Mikiyah Stiles (Hazelwood Central), and Caroline Beckmann (Eldon).
Johnny Brackins also holds the top returning triple jump with a 50-0.25 he jumped in indoor just a couple weeks ago. That's four whole feet farther than anyone in Missouri heading into the season, and is also the top triple jump in the United State this indoor season. Other athletes to watch include Keagan Roshell (Eureka), Mekhi Garrard (Webb City), Evan Bruenderman (Notre Dame), and Donovyn Fowler (Joplin).