Jayhlen Washington graduated from North Brunswick last year after winning 13 NCHSAA 2A Individual crowns. Though he graduated he began school a year early and still is only 18 years old. Washington continued his track career with the Cape Fear Flyers this summer focusing on the Long Jump & Triple Jump.
Going into the season Washington didn't have his normal schedule leading up into the summer season. Since he had graduated from North Brunswick he wasn't competing during the regular high school season. Washington trained hard holding lofty goals for himself once the summer season came around. He says, "Going into this year I told myself that the number one goal was to break 50 by the end of the year and I did everything I could to make sure it happened."
With many Triple Jump stars heading to the NC USATF Association Championships including North Carolina Gatorade Athlete of the Year Jamar Davis and All-American Kevin Snyder, Washington took down the elite 17-18 field. Despite only jumping in a few competitions so far in the season Washington took the win jumping a new PR of 49-10.75.
He'd head into the National meet with a ton of confidence. Washington says, "I knew I've had 50 in me since my junior year of high school, all I needed to accomplish that was to fix my technique." He graduated with a PR last summer of 49-10.5 in the triple jump. His regional jump assured him that he was still capable of clearing 50 feet. He also placed 3rd at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships a year ago, knowing a national title was also insight for his final year in youth track.
As the triple jump got underway Washington took the lead after his second jump clearing 48-11.75. On his next attempt, he would improve his lead even more with a jump of 50-11.5. Washington would hold a 2 foot lead over Jequan Hogan heading into the final.
All of the top athletes fouled on their first attempt of the finals, but Hogan caught a big jump on his fifth overall attempt landing 50-6.25, still short of Washington. Going into the final jump Washington was still in the lead. Hogan would jump just before Washington's final attempt, and he caught a big one. All eyes were on the officials measuring the jump to see if he had taken over the lead. The jump measured just half an inch short of Washington as he landed at 50-11. Washington had secured the national title passing on his final attempt.
Friday's triple jump win wasn't his only success from the national meet. On Wednesday he also won the 17-18 Long Jump with a season-best mark of 23-11. A year ago Washington set the North Carolina Indoor State Record with a jump of 24-7.5.