Whitaker, who just completed his freshman year at the University of Minnesota, soared a wind-aided 50-4.50 on his first attempt in the triple jump to finish second and secure a place on the U.S. National Team. Whitaker, who also had a windy 50-3.50 in his series, was in first place throughout most of the competition before Solomon Thomas of the University of Texas took the lead on his fifth attempt with a 50-9.50.
During his days at Highland, Whitaker established himself as one of the best horizontal jumpers in NJ high school history by winning four Meet of Champions titles, and a capturing a national title.
Bryanna Craig, who moved out of New Jersey with her family after her sophomore year at Millville High, had an emotional rollercoaster ride after she placed third in the heptathlon with 5,388 points, just 13 points behind runner-up JaiCieonna Gero-Holt of Emerald Ridge High School in Washington, who scored a national high school freshman record 5,401 points.
Since just the top two finishers in each event make the U.S. national team, it looked like Craig had come up just agonizingly short of making the team.
But Craig, who recently graduated from Ruston High in Louisiana, was elevated from first alternate to a member of the US National Team because Blakelee Winn of Pittsburg State University in Kansas, who won with 5,473 points, won't be able to compete at the World Championships for unspecified reasons.
Craig, the Nike National pentathlon champion this past indoor season, had a sensational meet as she recorded PR's in four of the seven events over the two days of competition. Her PR's came in the shot put (34-7), the 200 (25.11), the javelin (118-0), and the 800 (2:19.42). In the three other events, she ran 14.55 in the 100 hurdles, cleared 5-7-75 in the high jump, and soared 18-6.25 in long jump.
OTHER NJ HIGHLIGHTS
Jimmy Wischusen, who just competed a historic sophomore season a Union Catholic, nearly made the U.S. National Team, placing third in the 3,000 in 8:23.32, the 12th fastest time in state history. Tyrone Gorze, a rising senior at Crater High in Oregon, edged Wischusen for the second and final spot on the US team by running 8:21.03. Georgetown freshman Lucas Guerra won the race in 8:19.36
Wischusen had one of the greatest sophomore season in state history this past spring, highlighted by his state sophomore record of 8:56.41 in the two-mile, and his 4:09.90 in the mile, which is No. 2 in NJ history for a sophomore.
Nicole Clifford concluded her amazing career at Cherokee High by placing eighth in the women's 1,500 in 4:43.51.,
Ajanae Thompson, a rising senior at Union Catholic, finished eighth in the 100m hurdles in 14.03. She ran a PR and NJ No. 2 time of 13.91 in the trials.
Benjamin Shue of Bergen Catholic, who smashed the national freshman record in the discus this season with a 198-5, placed ninth in the discus with a 169-1.
Peyton Hollis, a rising junior at Union Catholic, placed fourth in the women's 800 in 2:11.94.
Bryce Tucker, a rising senior at Pennsauken, placed eighth in the 400 hurdles in 54.59. Tucker, who has won the last two Meet of Champions titles in the 400 hurdles, ran 52.14 in the trials.