Hillsborough rising senior Jeremiah Green captured the county's first national high school track & field championship in three years -- and only the second ever -- when he won the boys triple jump at Friday's New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., with a lifetime best mark of 50 feet, 10.25 inches.
Green not only produced his best jump ever, he also had his best series with three jumps beyond the 50-foot mark in the finals of the meet staged at North Carolina A&T. Besides his winner, he had marks of 50-6 and 50-8.25. His winning jump ranks Green No. 3 in the nation this season. He is the county's first national track titlist since ex-Chamberlain star Dentarius Locke won the 100 and 200 at the 2009 meet.
"I surprised myself a lot," said Green, who won last month's Class 3A state title in the triple jump. "But I've been doing a lot of training and put in a lot of work in the weight room and it's paid off.''
Saturday, Green earned seventh in the long lump at 23-0.75. His coach, Joe Sipp, said Green scratched twice. On one foul, Sipp said Green was "out there," likely well beyond the 24-foot mark. The winner, Cameron Luper of Auburn, Ala., posted a mark of 24-2.5.
Since winning the state championship, Green said he has working out daily, lifting weights and performing jump drills. Before coming toGreensboro, Green last competed -- and won -- at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational inCarolina,Puerto Rico. There, he won both the triple jump (49-2) and long jump (23-3).
Another bonus of grabbing a national title on this stage is the exposure Green has received. Shortly after winning the triple jump, Green received scholarship offers through his coach, Joe Sipp, from Alabama, Auburn, Louisiana State, Texas A&M and the University of South Florida.
Each time the 5-foot-8, 155-pound Green lands another track offer, people ask him if he is still a football player first. He does has an offer to play football at South Alabama and Bowling Green. And football scholarship offers to Division I or II schools mean full rides. Track coaches usually give partial scholarships due to the limited number available in the sport at most schools.
Green says he still considers football a serious option for college. But in light of his recent performances in the triple jump, he says he will try to spend more time in the weight room this fall.
''If I get in the weight room, it will help me be better at both (sports),'' Green said. "As long as I can do both, I want to do both. I love football and I love track, too.''
Friday’s victory in Greensboro earns Green all-American status. The top eight place winners in each event earn that distinction. Green will try to equal Locke’s double-gold performance Saturday when he competes in the long jump. His PR there is 23-9 but Green believes he has a 24-foot jump in him for this meet.
Also competing Friday was Brandon's Brittany McGee. A rising sophomore at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, McGee finished ninth in the girls hepatathlon with 4,235 points. She was the youngest competitor among the top 10 finishers.
In the boys 110-meter hurdles, Alonso standout William Taylor-Haynes, a rising senior, just missed qualifying for the finals of the event when he took fifth in the prelims in 14.51 seconds.