Floyd Whitaker became the first double state champion in Highland history this weekend as part of a monster performance that saw him medal in four events.
Whitaker, a Highland senior, scored enough points on his own to place fifth in the team standings at the state Group 3 meet at Pennsauken.
Whitaker won the triple jump Friday with a 47-0 1/4 jump and then won the long jump Saturday with a PR 23-6 1/2. He also placed fifth in the 400-meter intermediates and second in the high jump on Friday for 30 total points.
Overall, Highland placed fifth in Group 3 with 37 points.
These are Whitaker’s first outdoor state group titles, although he doubled at the 2020 indoor Meet of Champions at Ocean Breeze (and Easterns) in the two horizontal jumps and won the 2019 outdoor Meet of Champions after placing second at states (3/4 of an inch behind Hamilton West’s Richmond Sasha).
Whitaker’s previous long jump PR was a 23-0 1/2 at Ocean Breeze, and his outdoor PR was a 22-11 3/4 in a meet last month at Delsea.
The 23-6 1/2 makes him the No. 2 seed behind Piscataway’s Kaelen Mitchell (23-11 1/2) at Saturday’s Meet of Champions at South Plainfield. He’s the No. 3 seed in the triple jump (Sincere Robinson of Newark Tech 47-10 1/2, Rashawn Markman of Waldwick 47-10 1/2), although he has the best PR in the field at 50-2 1/2 from the 2019 Meet of Champions.
With his 23-6 1/2, Whitaker moved up to No. 18 in South Jersey history. It’s the best jump by a South Jersey long jumper since 2013, when Eastern’s Mikhail Micheaux hit 24-3 3/4 and Reggie Morrton of Oakcrest jumped 23-7 1/4.
He’s already No. 3 in the triple jump behind only Delsea’s Khaliel Burnett (50-9 1/4 in 2018) and Dominique Irons of Haddon Heights (50-6 3/4 in 2013).
The only other jumper in state history to go at least 23-6 in the long jump and 50 feet in the triple jump is Chris Phipps of Lodi, who jumped 23-6 1/4 and 50-5 in 2008 and later became an All-America at Nebraska.
Highland also got points at states from its 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams. In the 4-by-1, junior Freddi Alford, senior Robert McKinney, junior Omar Smith and sophomore Michael Arequin ran 43.92 for fourth, and sophomores Gavin Gallo, Anthony Imperatore and Cole Knoedler joined senior Cole Wassell to take sixth in the 4-by-8 in 8:17.02.
McKinney also placed fifth in the 100 in 11.24.