Let's take a step back into 2022. It's February at the LHSAA Indoor Championships and the 60m hurdles are locked and loaded .
All season, the freshman that came out of nowhere in the hurdles has dominated the small-school field. All season, he never failed to qualify for the finals, and now, he's about to run one of the fastest times in the nation.
This was Jaden Youngblood's rise to the top of the state. That day, he ran an unbelievable personal best, dropping 0.21 seconds in the 60m hurdles! This also accounts for his first-ever state title; the first of what will surely be more to come. At that meet, Youngblood concluded his freshman indoor season with a national ranking of 141st in the nation and an impeccable time of 8.31!
Even more impressive than that, Jaden was not only the fastest freshman in the entire state but the NATION! He overachieved so much that the next-best contender in the entire country was 0.26 seconds behind him!
During outdoors, Youngblood did it again, taking 1st in the 110m hurdles and 3rd in the 300m hurdles at the LHSAA 3A Outdoor Championships. This time, he ranked at US #3 and US #7, respectively, among freshmen for the outdoor season.
It's clear at this point that Youngblood is built for the hurdles. It's one thing to be a state champion. It's another to be among the best in the nation.
Jaden Youngblood (lane 8) running 8.29 at the Arkansas High School Invitational
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Youngblood has already laid the groundwork from his freshman season, and now he is climbing the ranks once again. Just recently, he competed at the Arkansas High School Invitational and ran a blazing 8.29 for the 60m hurdles. This ties him for the 47th best time in the nation, as well as, tied for first among his class so far this season. This, of course, also continues Youngblood's perfect record of qualifying for finals.
Luckily for Youngblood, he is in a challenging environment that will surely test him throughout the season. Louisiana is teeming full of strong hurdling talent, so there is no need to travel far to face staunch competition. However, in terms, of a second consecutive state title for the small-school division, Youngblood is a heavy favorite to repeat.