Omarei Gregory was ruled ineligible to play last year after transferring to Rogers and was shut out of competition. This year, he came out and took first in the 4A triple jump in a unique debut which was not lost on Gregory.
"It felt good to be able to come out on my last and first year," Gregory said.
He had to sit last year because of WIAA rules on transferring after he had switched from Cascade Christian to Rogers.
The debut performance was a strong one for Gregory who had a best jump of the day at 47 feet on Thursday at Mount Tahoma Stadium, which was unmatched by his competitors as well as being done with a strong headwind to battle with.
"It was not good with the headwinds. I definitely had to stay down a little bit," Gregory said. "I felt those headwinds at the end on my last couple jumps. My legs started getting tired."
Still, even with the win Gregory still saw the potential to improve and compete to be the very best that no one ever was before him, even himself. To beat his own personal best is his real test.
"That wasn’t my best today," Gregory said. "It’s bittersweet I got the win but I didn’t get my best like I wanted."
With that in mind, Gregory was happy to come out to compete in the 4A division. This was no small feat considering he started his high school career at 1B Evergreen Lutheran, then went to 1A Cascade Christian before making the big jump to 4A but win a state title now there as well.
"It feels good to be able to come out at the biggest division in Washington state so that was pretty nice to be able to start low and then come up to the top like that," Gregory said.
The improvement and work ethic was something highlighted by his club coach, Nate Wilford of the Flying AJs, who noted the growth Gregory has made.
"He works hard and he understands all of the techniques. I mean there’s are a lot of things that are involved in triple jumping," Wilford said. "Omari has been a great student."
Wilford would know having from the beginning been a driving force in molding Gregory into the state title winning athlete he is today.
"When he first came to me, he was jumping 35 feet," Wilford said. "He had a couple of scratches where he was at like 49 today."
Chase Hutchinson: 253-597-8680