The 2020 Wildcat Classic was the coming-out party for much of the state of Kentucky's track and field athletes. With limited indoor meet opportunities, a chance to run in a collegiate facility brings out the best in our state each year. This year was no exception. There were three meet records and countless top state marks for the 2020 season.
However, there was one athlete that came out of the gate strong and showed why he is the class of the state for the spring.
Frederick Douglass senior, Christian Lewis, was entered in three events (60m, 200m , and long jump) looking to start the season off on a strong note. The future South Carolina Gamecock is ready for his final high school season and then head off to Columbia to a place he says "feels like home".
The first event of the day was the 60m dash. It turned out to be a dog fight with city rival Elliott Bryant of Tates Creek. Bryant got the best of Lewis by 0.007 but set a new personal record for Lewis in the event. In the 2019 season, Christian flirted with 7.00 but couldn't get there with times of 7.01, 7.03, and 7.06. Can he break that elusive 7.00 barrier at the UK High School Invitational? The pattern says yes!
Bryant and Lewis duel in the second heat of the 60m dash.
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Following his performance in the 60m dash, Lewis shifted his focus to the long jump pit. Christian lept 23' 9.75" last year at this meet, which vaulted him to national prominence and in the conversation as one of the best jumpers in the class of 2020. You could feel the excitement in Nutter Fieldhouse this year when he came to the runway. His trademark clapping started and the entire facility turned to see what he was about to do. He came in with the goal of getting "the jitters out" after mentioning this being the first time he has jumped since October. The first two jumps were not up to par. As for the third jump:
"my height was good...it is usually good. But, then as I proceeded to go through my motions, that's when it all fell apart."
His 23' 4.25" leap was good enough for the Wildcat Classic title (and a US #9 mark) but will need some improvement over the next couple of weeks to stand up against the UK High School Invitational field. Christian has what it takes to compete again on the national level in the horizontal jumps. His 8th place finish at New Balance Nationals in 2019, is attainable if not beatable. His infectious personality takes over the jump pit and brings out all that is good in track and field.
Christian talked with KYtrackXC's Dedrick Troxell about his day at the 2020 Wildcat Classic!
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Christian wrapped up his day in the 200m. This was not the rematch we thought we would see with Elliott Bryant, as Bryant did not compete in the event. Instead, Lewis took the field by 0.4 seconds with a 22.19. This was another personal record for the senior. After a long first day of competition, this was a welcome sight to the track fans. Lewis' first event took place around 1:00 PM and the 200m was around 5:30 PM. Throw in the long jump in between and this young man had quite the day.
Christian finished up his day with a 200m title.
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Not that anyone in the state of Kentucky is sleeping on this young man, but keep an eye on what he does this year. The last jumper we have seen of this quality was Jaron Brooks (Henry Clay) and his best indoor long jump was 22' 4.5" and Lewis has already surpassed that. Brooks went onto a collegiate career at Auburn and Christian will be following the footsteps of so many others before as he travels to the SEC next year as well. For now, let's enjoy watching one of the best jumpers we have witnessed in a long time!