James Stovall still has a bit of unfinished business before he begins his football career with the Naval Academy.
Bradley Central's all-state receiver is also one of the state's top triple jumpers, and Friday evening, in the annual Best of Preps track meet at GPS, Stovall broke school and meet records in the event with a hop, skip and jump spanning 46 feet, 10 inches. That broke the old mark of 46-9.25 set by former Bradley athlete Lamar Thompson, and it was eight inches farther than last year's Class AAA state championship winning jump.
"It gives me a lot of confidence to know I've got that kind of distance in me," said Stovall, who also won the high jump. "I think the level of competition here today kind of pushed me. I was pretty anxious at the start, but I was able to relax and just concentrate on making my jump, and it paid off with a record. That's pretty cool to know my name will be there in the record book, at least for a little while."
Two other meet records also fell with GPS's 4x200 relay team setting a new standard in 1:43.57, nearly two full seconds better than the old record, and Baylor sophomore pole vaulter Kate Kaufman clearing 10 feet, 9 inches to break the old mark by 1 foot, 3 inches.
"My goal was to improve my best by at least a foot every year," Kaufman said. "I did that last year, and already this year I'm a foot and three inches better than my best from last year.
"I put more pressure on myself to do well than anything, and the last three weeks had been frustrating for me because I kind of hit a wall and wasn't seeing any results. But today felt great."
GPS's Simone Busby won both the discus and shot put, and Bruisers teammate Tory Kemp won the 100-meter hurdles and was second in the long jump.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 20 years, starting at the News-Free Press as a 19-year-old reporter. He has been with the Times Free Press since its inception and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation ...