Kyren Washington, a senior at Santa Fe High School near Gainesville and the defending FHSAA 2A state champion in the high jump, cleared a new personal best height of 7'1" (2.16 meters) on Saturday at the Santa Fe Raider Invitational.
The performance ranks him second in the country as only the second athlete in the nation to clear over 7 feet this spring. Washington had set his prior personal best one week prior at the Bolles Bulldog Classic, when he successfully cleared 6'9.50" (2.07 meters). Only a dozen others in Florida high school history have cleared over 7'1" and the state record sits at 7'2.75" by Sam Hill from New Smyrna Beach in 1992. Washington made several attempts at 7'3" this weekend.
A basketball player and starting center for the Santa Fe High School team averaging just under 10 points per game, Washington might serve as more of a role player on the basketball court as a rim protector and rebounder, but on the high jump mat is when he's on center stage as a star.
After initially going out of track to just find a spring sport to do during his freshmen year in 2020 to go along with playing football in the fall and basketball in the winter, Washington decided when high school sports resumed after the covid shutdown to skip out on track as a sophomore and focus on AAU basketball in the spring of 2021.
Washington decided to come back to track & field last spring (2022) for his junior year and that decision paid off as he went from never clearing 6 feet as a freshman in the high jump to jumping 6'5" or 6'7" on a consistent basis as a junior en route to becoming the 2A state champion last May in Gainesville.
This year, the state meet will be held at University of Florida's Hodges Stadium which also happens to be the venue for this weekend's Bob Hayes Invitational. Washington will be traveling to compete at that meet with his Santa Fe squad and get his first opportunity to test out the jumping surface in Jacksonville that he will return to in late May to attempt to repeat as state champion.