Yashahya Brown is the best hurdler in New Jersey, and he proved it once again on Saturday.
Brown ran away with the 55-meter hurdles at the state Group 4 meet at the Bubble, winning in 7.37 – just 1-100th of a second off his lifetime best. He ran 7.36 a week earlier to win the South Jersey Group 4 sectionals.
That was Brown’s first state title and considering he didn’t even qualify for state last spring – he was 7th at sectionals, just 3-100ths of a second out of medal contention – it’s sure been a sweat season for the Washington Township junior.
Brown won the Group 4 race by more than a fifth of a second over East Brunswick senior Chiemelie Anoskie, who was 2nd in 7.58. He’s only lost one hurdles race this year and that was to teammate Kanye Mills at the Bubble a few weeks ago.
On the MileSplit national list, Brown is No. 5 overall and the No. 1 underclassman. His 7.36 is fastest by a New Jersey underclassman since St. Augustine’s Sincere Rhea, now at Miami, ran 7.35 to win the Meet of Champions at the Bubble in 2018.
The only other hurdler under 7.50 at states was Willingboro junior Eric Foster, who had a huge breakthrough with a 7.46 win in the Group 2 race.
Brown had never broken 8.00 seconds before this year. He brought a PR of 8.05 from a meet in Collegeville, Pa., into his junior year season. He ran 7.65 and then 7.51 in his opener in December at the Armory, then ran 7.46 at Ocean Breeze and 7.44 at the Bubble before the 7.36 last week.
That’s No. 15 in South Jersey history and No. 2 in Gloucester County history behind legendary Sultan Tucker, who ran 7.18 en route to a 7.73 for 60 meters at the 1997 National Scholastic Indoor in Roxbury, Mass. (and later represented Liberia in the World Championships and Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2002 African Championships in Tunis and Radès, Tunisia).
7.10 … Sincere Rhea [St. Augustine], 2019
7.18 … Sultan Tucker [Delsea], 1996
7.22 … Dwight Ruff [Camden], 2001
7.22 … Isaac Williams [Willingboro], 2012
7.29 … Nate Harley [Pleasantville], 1996
7.29 … Danyne Brown [Camden], 1999
7.29 … Anthony Acklin [Triton], 2001
7.29 … Will Brown [Palmyra], 2006
7.31 … Anthony Vasquez [Egg Harbor Twp.], 2020
7.32 … Jon Dickey [Penns Grove], 1985
7.34 … Chais Hill [Highland], 2015
7.35 … Gerard Reynolds [Willingboro], 1990
7.36 … Yashahya Brown [Washington Twp.], 2023
7.39 … Rashad Baker [Wilson], 2000
7.39 … Isaiah Lewis [Winslow Twp.], 2020