Khaliel Burnett is the best triple jumper in state history and the talented Delsea High School senior doesn’t bounce around when asked why.
“It was just from work,” Burnett said earlier this week after winning his second Meet of Champions title, “the way that I was training was why I won.”
Burnett defended his triple jump title with a 48-02.25 Saturday at the Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington High School.
Last year, Burnett won the MofC title with a 48-9.50 for the third best leap in South Jersey history after winning the Group 3 state title with a jump of 47-0.75.
“He only lost one triple jump competition in the last two years,” Delsea boys’ track coach Ronn Flaim said. “He has had an unbelievable run.”
Last week, he broke the boys’ state record in the triple jump with a historic leap of 50-9.25 in helping the Crusaders win their first state crown in program history.
“Just my work ethic,” Burnett said about the greatest leap in state history. “I was able to do something good and we were able to do something good.”
Two weeks ago, Burnett topped 50 feet for the first time when he soared 50-4 to win the Group 3 gold medal at the South Jersey Championships.
His goal was to clear 50-feet since April when he ripped a personal best of 49-1.75 to place fourth at the Penn Relays.
“I was trying for 50 for a while,” Burnett said “ and then I hit it two times in a row.”
Delsea also boasted the 4x800 gold medalist at the MofC. The Crusaders, with seniors George Tenenberg, William Mayhew and Michael Szwed running the first three legs and junior Colin Kane at anchor, clocked a school-record 7:46.28 to finish first.
“I was very happy for everyone,” Burnett said. “I was happy to see people with smiles on their faces.”
Two weekends ago, Delsea cruised to its inaugural state championship with 65 points to outdistance second-place West Windsor-Plainsboro by 19 points in Group 3.
“I would tell them we still got 10 points and at the end of the day that’s all that matters was the team points and that’s why we were able to get the team title,” Burnett said about the depth of the Crusaders. “It was just really good to see everybody smiling.”
Burnett and his Delsea classmates graduate this weekend and then he will attend Monroe Community College in the fall.
“I’m going there for year and then I’ve transferred out,” he said about the Rochester, New York junior college. “And after I’m done my one year at Monroe, I would like to go to the University of South Carolina, Penn State or Florida.”
Burnett understands the work ahead of him and why he sailed past the previous state record of 50-6.75 set by Dominique Irons of Haddon Heights in 2013. So he knows he must continue on the same grinding path.
“Over the summer, I’m going to continue to train with my coaches at the high school,” Burnett said, “and just continue to work.”