Juriad Hughes Jr. is not only becoming one of the state’s top track and field athletes, but one of the nation’s best as well. The Irondale High School athlete turned heads this past January when he broke a 41-year-old long jump record set by St. Paul Central track and field legend Von Sheppard. Hughes Jr.’s leap of 25 feet, 3 1/2 inches bested Sheppard’s previous record of 25 feet, 1 1/2 inches and made him one of the top-ranked long jumpers in the country for the Class of 20Since then, he has continued to impress, taking home gold medals in the long jump and triple jump at the 2019 Minnesota Class AA State Track and Field Championship. Hughes Jr. is also a member of the Irondale distance medley and 4×400 relay teams, which have both earned All-State honors.
Hughes set a new Minnesota boys indoor and outdoor long jump mark with a leap of 24’ 11”, topping Sheppard’s mark of 24’ 9.25” set at the Minnesota State High School League meet in 1982.
Hughes’ accomplishments are adding to the legacy set in motion by his father, Juriad Hughes Sr.
The elder Hughes starred in boys basketball at St. Paul Central from 1987-89, leading the Minutemen to a fourth place Class AA state tournament finish. He capped off his career with the 1989 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year honors, in the process.
The younger Hughes was also a starting wide receiver for a Knights football team that finished with a 6-4 record, with a team-leading 429 yards, while averaging 17.2 yards per reception, and scoring four touchdowns during the regular season.
For now, Hughes Jr. is focused on the current track and field season, which he has dominated thus far in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and long jump.
Football and track and field were not the only sports in which Hughes Jr. participated. Up until his sophomore year, he played basketball before choosing not to follow in his father’s footsteps and develop his own athletic legacy.
Hughes Sr. was surprisingly agreeable with his son’s decision. “I’m glad that he finally realized that basketball wasn’t one of his main sports,” Hughes Sr. said.
One thing is certain: Juriad Hughes Jr. has the potential to become one of Minnesota’s top high school track and field performers of all time. Based on what has transpired to this point, the sky’s the limit.
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