While there might not be much track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!
We look here at a record from 2015. Enjoy!
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It's April and in Paris the chestnuts may be in blossom, but Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile is not in her home city to enjoy them. Right now she is at the 2015 Penn Relays and getting set for her first attempt in the triple jump on a runway that has loomed big in the annals of NY state records. Way back in 1977, Sanya Owolabi smashed the boys meet reord at 51-1 at Penn Relays and then came back a year later as a senior to go more than a foot farther and set a new state and meet record.
Ebwea-Bile has just her senior season to use use for setting state records because up until this year she has been in Paris and on occasion competing with the French junior national team in world events. She got hooked up with Benjamin Cardozo HS in Queens for her senior year because she is interested in competing at the highest level in US college action, and she has nailed down a scholarship at the University of Kentucky.
What may not be completely determined is what Ebwea-Bile's best event is, because she was NY's indoor States champ in both the long jump at 19-1 and the triple jump at 41-1. And very oddly for a top jumper, there is also the shot put to throw into the conversation, because she won the the indoor PSAL City championship in the shot along with the two horizontal jumps. At the Penn Relays though, all of her resources are being focused on the TJ, in which she finished 4th at indoor Nationals in March.
As always at the Penn Relays, it is the athletes from Jamaican high schools that are getting much of the attention. In the TJ, it is Tamara Moncrieffe of Holmwood Tech who is the top Jamaican athlete who comes in with a 44-3.75 best from the year before. Ebwea-Bile has gone to 43-8 herself, but that was two years earlier at World Juniors when she suddenly exploded on the world track scene at 16. Her best since then has been a 42-3 in 2014. She has stayed always well above the 40-foot mark though, which is itself a pretty heady mark that less than thirty TJers reach in US high school competition on average.
So as Ebwea-Bile lines up for her first attempt at Penn Relays on April 23, 2015, she is working off a history of sustained excellence but with a some big marks to shoot for. Her best ever TJ is more than a foot and a half further than the NY state record, but she did not come very close to the indoor state record and she has something to prove in the outdoor season.
On her first attempt in the orange-and-blue of Cardozo, Ebwea-Bile speeds down the track and does the hop, the skip, and then the jump that lands her far out in the pit. The white flag of a legal attempt goes up, and the measurement puts the jump at 42-1.25, breaking the 18-year-old state record by three quarters of an inch. It is not a PR for Ebwea-Bile, and though it puts her into the lead for the moment, she will end up finishing 3rd behind Moncrieffe's big 43-10 leap and her fellow Jamaican Shanique Wright's 42-2.75. It will be the top mark by more than a foot for Ebwea-Bile on the season, though, in the years ahead she will be sticking leaps for the Kentucky Wildcats that will be leaving her fellow collegians Moncrieffe and Wright far far behind.
Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile entered on the official track and field scene at the age of 14 in December of 2011 with a 6.8 clocking in the 50m dash at Aulnay-sous-Bois, a city precinct about 8 miles northeast of Paris center. The time equates to around a 7.4 for the 55m, which would place her among the top 50 sprinters in NY and shows that she started off with good speed to be carried over to the horizontal jumps, and even maybe a quick spin in the shot put. During the next month she started making some respectable jumps, hitting 38-7 for the TJ and 17-1.75 for the LJ. Outdoors in a season that extended into the fall for France, Ebwea-Bile reached 40-2.5 for the TJ and 17-7 in the LJ. The NY freshman record for the TJ by Jodi Schlesinger of Clarkstown South is 40-0.75, so the young Parisian certainly had hops.
In 2013 in the equivalent of her sophomore high school season, Ebwea-Bile expanded her events selections a bit as she started throwing the shot put and added the high jump and high hurdles to her repertoire as part of a testing out of the pentathlon. But with her jumps coach pushing her to go further, she was breaking out to whole new levels in the horizontals, hitting 19-2.5 in the LJ by October. In June though in a meet at Parisian area of Gagny, she leaped 43-4 in the TJ to earn a spot at World Juniors. At Donetsk in the Ukraine in July, she set her high-school age best mark of 43-8 while placing 5th.
Ebwea-Bile's TJ marks did not improve in in the spring of 2014 though she still was over 42 and did hit 20-3 in the LJ. Having vacationed in the US when she was 14 and at a point when she was making connections with US college coaches, she decided to make a change in her education going into the fall. Pointed to PSAL school Benjamin Cardozo as a good place to get prepped for a future college experience, Ebwea-Bile joined the Judges' program for the 2015 indoor track season that included talent like Paris Peoples, Emma Gallagher, Shalah Means, Elizabeth Perez-Bossut, and Nia Lundy. Coming from Paris with its own big-city experience, the jump to NYC was not too taxing.
Starting with the Bishop Loughlin Games in December not in the horizontals but the shot put, Ebwea-Bile started making her mark in the US with a 2nd place with a heave of 37.4.75. She ended the calendar year still with no jumps results as she helped Cardozo take a 2nd in 4x200m at the PSAL Holiday Classic at the end of December. She waited till January 2015 to begin her jumps, taking the first of six straight wins in the LJ with an 18-9.5 at the PSAL Distance Night early in the month and later adding a 19-2 at Yale. The triple jumps didn't begin until mid-February with a relaxed 39-5 at the PSAL Queens Boro championship, but a week later she got her season's best with a 41-1.5 jump to win the PSAL championship, also adding a 19-4 to take the LJ.And of course also claimed the shot put title with a throw of 38-5.75.
In March at Cornell for States, Ebwea-Bile swept up both of the horizontal jumps titles at marks just a tad behind what she did at PSAL with a 19-1 in the LJ and 41-1 in the TJ. A week later at New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory she was further back, as an 18-3 in the LJ earned her 13th and a 40-6.25 got her 4th in the TJ.
The outdoor season got its top highlight in early. After an opening 39-8.5 in the TJ at the Mayor's Cup at Icahn Stadium in mid April, Ebwea-Bile headed two weeks later to the Penn Relays. Snapping the NY state record on her first attempt at 42-1.25, she finished 3rd but was tops among athletes competing for US high schools. Two weeks later at Loucks she hooked up in a TJ duel with Leah Moran of the Academy of the Holy Names (who went on to win the D2 LJ-TJ titles at States), and Ebwea-Bile got the win at 40-9. Her season ended with another three-way sweep of LJ-TJ-shot put titles at the PSAL championship. She reached 19-10.75 in the LJ, but the jump was wind-aided. Her Penn Relays mark ranked her 7th in the US on the season.
Four years at Kentucky brought Ebwea-Bile a lot of wins and many All-American honors. She captured the SEC title in the indoor long jump in her freshman year, and though she never won a national title in the TJ, she did place 2nd at NCAA D1 outdoors in 2017 and chalked up 3rd places at 2018 outdoors and 2019 indoors and outdoors. Her tops in the LJ came indoors at 21-0.75 in 2018, and her best in the TJ came outdoors in 2018 at 45-11.25. She got her degree in merchandising from Kentucky with the goal of becoming a fashion designer. In December 2017, she was married in Paris and became Marie-Josee Ebwea-Bile Excel.
The state record holder before Ebwea-Bile was Mattituck's Lynette Wigington who jumped 42-0.25 while finishing 4th (behind three collegians) at US Juniors on June 21, 1997.