Athletics News

Jaydon Hibbert — Precocious TJ Record Setter

Jaydon Hibbert — Precocious TJ Record Setter

Growing teen Hibbert has gained 2 inches in height since the school year began. (MATT DOBBINS)

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to realize about Jaydon Hibbert is that he started triple jumping barely three years ago. Yet already the Arkansas frosh from Kingston, Jamaica, can lay claim to being the farthest collegiate jumper ever after his 58-7½ (17.87) at the SEC.

The big jump also enhanced his status as the farthest Junior (U20) performer ever and gave him this year’s overall world lead.

Just how did this happen? “I really don’t know,”he says with an awkward laugh. “It’s obviously from God, him bringing that niche to me. But overall, I had been trying to find an event for years, and I found triple jump 3 years ago, so I’m working with it.”

Hibbert actually goes much farther back in the sport. He says he started participating at age 5. Over the years he tried the 400, the high jump, long jump and hurdles. “I was not good enough for any of them. I was too short for the hurdles and the high jump, in the 400 I was too weak.

“But triple jumping, I started it and I fell in love with it. I saw a guy doing it at practice one day, and I said, ‘Let me just try it.’” The coach, according to the story, had misgivings because he thought Hibbert was too small. But he relented and gave him a shot. That was in ’20.

The next year, Hibbert won Jamaican U20 titles in both the long jump and triple; he hit bests of 24-1 (7.34) and 52-8 (16.05). The latter mark came in winning the World Junior silver in Nairobi.

Fun fact: that was the last time he lost. In ’22, the year he turned 17, he understandably stuck primarily to the high school/Junior circuit. He won CARIFTA Games titles in both his events, and then focused on the triple, winning the Penn Relays HS division, another Jamaican U20 title, and then the World Juniors with a PR of 56-8 (17.27).

Next would come college, and in the battle for Hibbert — also a very strong student — Arkansas won. When he arrived in Fayetteville, coaches were more than a little amazed by his ability. Some predicted he would soon take down the school records of the legendary Mike Conley.

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