Jefferson wins gold


JEFFERSON
Tyler's Andre Jefferson (center) poses with Olympic champions Carl Lewis (left) and Leroy Burrell, who is also the University of Houston track coach. Courtesy

Tyler’s Andre Jefferson left an impressionable mark in and outside the pit over the weekend.

Jefferson captured first place in the long jump with a distance of 24 feet and 11 inches on Saturday at the Carl Lewis High School Invitational to warrant the attention of fellow prepsters and Olympians in attendance at the University of Houston.

“Andre Jefferson put on a show,” said the TexasTrack.com blog. “Easily the best performance of the young season so far.”

Jefferson jumped more than 24 feet four times in the clutch performance and won by three feet. Jefferson, a senior at John Tyler, represented the Tyler-Whitehouse based Metro. Jefferson just missed breaking the meet record of 25-1 1/4 set by Marquise Goodwin in 2009.

“He was disappointed he didn’t jump over 25 feet and break the record,” said his father, Tyrus Jefferson, a former world-class long jumper.

As a junior, Jefferson placed third in the long jump and 12th in the triple jump at regionals, earning first-team honors on the Tyler Morning Telegraph All-East Texas track and field team. Jefferson’s older brother, Tyris Jefferson, won the 5A state meet in the long jump last year and signed with Kansas State. Jefferson’s father starred in the long jump at Arkansas before becoming one of the country’s top leapers.

Lewis, a four-time Olympic champion in the long jump, and Houston coach Leroy Burrell, a former world champion in the 100, encouraged Jefferson to keep pushing toward his goals.

Along with the former Olympians, Jefferson’s bloodline offers motivation, including sister Tyler Jefferson, who was murdered in Florida, also in 2009, while in the Navy.

“They told me to keep my hopes and Olympic dreams alive and that I had the talent to jump over 27 feet,” Jefferson told the Tyler Paper.

“So I am going to reassert myself and academically and athletically to duplicate what my brother Tyris did to get a scholarship, and win state because I’ve dedicated my season to my sister Tyler Jefferson.”