The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013
The562’s coverage of track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial
Gold is coming home to the Northside.
It’s been 21 years since a Jordan program brought home a CIF Southern Section championship, when the Cinderella-story boys’ volleyball team did it in 2001. Thanks to coach Sharaud Moore and his boys’ track and field team, 6500 Atlantic Ave will have another addition to its trophy case. Jordan edged Mater Dei for the CIF-SS Division 2 track and field championship Saturday, 60-58, in a competition that came down to the day’s final event.
Moore thanked his administration, his mentors, and his coaching staff for helping cultivate a championship performance, but mostly he credited his athletes and how they competed.
“I’m thankful for the kids and their belief in the program, their belief in themselves, and their belief in me,” Moore said. “When I met Jordan Washington, and I met Darryl Stevens, and EJ Jones, I told them, ‘When you leave here, you’re gonna leave here with your name on the wall. You’re something special.’ My guys bonded together. And they realized that they were sufficient. They were good enough themselves.”
It’s the second-ever championship for the Jordan track and field program, after coach Bill Eden’s girls’ team was able to edge Poly in 1982. Earlier this season, the Jordan boys beat Poly in a dual meet to claim a co-Moore League championship with Poly and Wilson, the first league title at the school since Ron Massey’s last basketball title in 2009).
A lot of people deserve credit for the Panthers’ golden turn but none more so than Jordan Washington and Darryll Stevens, who turned in individual championship-caliber performances. Washington was the running-away champ in the Division 2 100 and 200, with times of 10.37 and 20.93. He will be among the favorites at CIF-SS Masters and State in both sprints as well.
"Our main goal this whole meet, this whole month, was to focus on nothing else but winning," said Washington, who did his fair share of that on Saturday. "It's a complete honor to be here, especially as a sophomore, I'm extremely grateful. And you're not done seeing me, I've got two more years."
Stevens won a championship in the 300 hurdles and then took fourth in the 200, racking up critical points in the team race. Those events took a physical toll on Stevens as he went into the last race of the day--the decisive 4x400 relay--but he ran his team's fastest leg to start the race and put the Panthers in a great position to win.
“I was dying after doing the 300 and 200 back-to-back," Stevens admitted. "But I needed to be here for my teammates. Ahmad (Diouf) and EJ, they're seniors. This could have been their last track meet, so I had to put on for them ... It feels good. We made history. That's not something a lot of people from Jordan can say they did. It felt good."
Jacon Brown and Jerman Simms Jr. picked up points in the jumps as well. It came down to the last event, with Jordan trailing Mater Dei by four points going into the 4x400. That meant they needed a fifth-place finish to tie or a fourth-place finish to win the title by themselves.
The Panthers left absolutely nothing in doubt as they rocketed out to a lead on Stevens’ leg and then saw Washington bring home a third-place finish to seal the championship. Before the 4x400 team made their way onto the track, Moore gave them an impassioned speech in the team area, making sure they were ready to leave it all on the line in the final event of the day.
“It was similar to the dual meet against Poly. Walking to the line I told them 'This is the day we die'," Moore recalled. "To be a champion, to be great, you've got to be willing to risk death and lay it all on the line. And they did that."
Washington acknowledged the challenges and setbacks the program has endured the past few seasons, and how his team has had to overcome doubters and naysayers along the way. But he was inspired, as Coach Moore said, to leave his name on the wall at Jordan High and cement a legacy for future generations on the Northside.
"I want to change things, that's why I came here," said Washington. "I didn't go to Poly or Wilson, though I had the opportunity to go. I wanted to go (to Jordan) because it's where I'm from. I just wanted to be where I'm from and represent us, and that's what I want to give to the next generation. I care about everybody at Jordan. So that's always been my goal ever since I got here was to change the school."
Jordan (Division 2)
Girls’ 4×100 6th, 48.60
Boys 4×100 1st, 41.77
Boys’ 110 Hurdles: Jacob Hernandez, 4th, 14.99
Boys’ 100: Jordan Washington, 1st, 10.37
Boys’ 300 Hurdles: Darryll Stevens, 1st, 38.68
Boys’ 200: Jordan Washington, 1st, 20.93
Boys’ 200: Darryll Stevens, 4th, 21.63
Boys’ 4×400 3rd, 3:20.58
Girls’ Long Jump: Tara Dozier, 9th, 17-0
Boys’ Long Jump: Javon Brown, 9th, 19-5.5
Boys’ High Jump: Jerman Simms Jr., 5th, 6-2
Boys’ High Jump: Javon Brown, NH