Shamali Whittle of Hamilton North, one of the nation's top track and field recruits, made his eagerly anticipated college decision during a ceremony in the gym at his school on Thursday.
The winner is......The University of Georgia!
Whittle, who had his choices narrowed down to three, also strongly considered University of Florida, and the University Southern California.
During his spectacular career, Whittle has established himself as one of the greatest sprinters in N.J. high school history.
This past summer, Whittle burned up the track with two of the greatest sprint performances in NJ history at the Outdoor National Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Whittle ran the fastest wind-legal 200-meter dash in N.J. history when he ran 20.75 in the preliminary round. There was tailwind reading of 2.0 meters per second during the race, which is the maximum allowed to be legal. Anything over 2.0 is wind-aided. Whittle's 20.75 broke the wind-legal state record of 20.93 (0.5 wind) that Danny Johnson of Rahway ran to win the 200 at the 2001 Meet of Champions, and it broke Whittle's own state Junior Class State Record of 20.95 that he ran to win at the Meet of Champions in June. Mario Heslop of Franklin ran 20.74 when he won the 2019 Meet of Champions, but there was no wind reading for that race.
Whittle, No. 2 ranked U18 200m runner in the world in 2021, came back in the final later that same day and ran even faster, dropping a 20.73 to place fourth, but there was a 2.1 wind reading, making his time wind-aided by the slimmest of margins. Whittle's 20.73 is the second fastest all-conditions 200 ever run by a NJ athlete behind the wind-aided 20.51 (2.8 wind reading) that Antonio Tarantino of Paul VI ran in the prelims at the 2018 New Balance Nationals at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C. Tarantino came back to run a wind-legal 21.06 to place third in the final.
At the Meet of Champions last spring, Whittle ran a NJ#1 10.48 in the trials of the 100m, and then came back to capture the 100m dash in 10.55, and the 200 in 20.95. He was the only athlete to win two individual events at the meet. Whittle also ran 13.86 in the 110m hurdles last spring, which was the second fastest time in the state.