Two S.J. alums lock up in historic MAAC long jump battle, both soaring over 24 feet for the first time!

Two South Jersey natives who are now college freshmen hooked up in a titanic long jump battle Saturday at the MAAC Championships in Lawrenceville.

Haddon Heights graduate Jabari Higgs -Salaam, a freshman at St. Peter’s, won the competition by less than an inch over Pennsville graduate Zach Manorowitz, a freshman at Rider.

Both soared over 24 feet for the first in their lives – on back-to-back jumps – and both left the long jump pit with huge PRs.

This is legendary stuff.

Manorowitz has had an incredible freshman year considering his best high school jump was 21-6 at 2019 Group 1 states at Franklin Township. He’s been over 23 feet in every meet he’s entered and brought a PR of 23-5 3/4 into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships Saturday afternoon.

Higgs-Salaam, who had a high school-best of 22-11 from the 2019 Woodbury Relays, brought a PR of 23-7 1/4 into the conference meet from a meet at his home track in Jersey City in early April. He jumped 23-1 1/2 indoors when he placed third at the conference meet at the Armory. (Manorowitz didn’t jump indoors).

On Saturday, the two South Jersey jumpers took their games to another level in a riveting back-and-forth battle for conference honors.

Higgs-Salaam led after the first round with a 23-5 1/2, but Manorowitz took the lead with a 23-6 on his second jump and then improved to 23-7 1/2 on his third jump.

Higgs-Salaam came within three-quarters of an inch of Manorowitz with a 23-6 3/4 on his first jump of the finals and then took the lead with a 24-5 3/4 on his next attempt. Manorowitz, on the very next jump, hit 24-5, this time missing Higgs-Salaam by three-quarters of an inch.

On his sixth and final attempt, Higgs-Salaam hit 24-5 and Manorowitz closed with another 24-foot jump at 24-1 1/2.

So two jumpers who never went 24 feet before both surpassed 24 feet on each of their two final attempts!

Each jumper had five legal jumps of at least 23-5!

Higgs-Salaam averaged 24-0 on his five legal jumps and Manorowitz averaged 23-7 1/2 on his six legal jumps.

What a competition!

I’d love to be able to tell you the last time a MAAC long jump competiti0n was this close or the top two places were both over 24-5, but the conference’s lame web site has no record of previous winners or previous meet results. (Seriously, what do these SIDs do all day?)

Higgs-Salaam came within 2 1/4 inches of the school record of 24-8 1/4 set in 2012 by someone listed on the school’s web site as “A Lucas” in 2012. A few Google clicks revealed that to be Aaron Lucas, who hit 24-8 1/4 at the 2012 IC4A meet at Princeton.

Manorowitz’s 24-5 is No. 2 in Rider history, behind only Desmond Hamilton’s 25-8 1/4 when he placed fifth in the 2007 NCAA Championships.

The previous best long jump by a South Jersey jumper at Rider was 23-10 by Pemberton graduate Tony Johnson in 1988.

Higgs-Salaam 24-5 3/4 was wind-legal at 1.1, and his 24-5 was listed with no wind information. 

Manorowitz’s 24-5 was 2.8, but his 24-1 1/2 was wind-legal at exactly 2.0.

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