New York's Best Rivalry Comes Within Inches Of State Record

We've talked about this duo before -- it's a friendly rivalry that's been brewing just off the Great Lake. 

Predominantly, it came about last season when they both were vying for the freshman state record in the long jump, further supplemented by their continued battle to qualify for the state meet in a deep jumping section. 

But now, it's one year later for Rhoan Kaulder (McQuaid Jesuit) and Aiden Bryant (Midlakes) and the goal posts have moved. The race for the sophomore state record has only just begun.

Before we dig in, it's better to understand the history here. 

The current sophomore state record is held by Tobi Tella, a fellow McQuaid Jesuit athlete who set the mark at 23-5 almost a decade ago in 2014. 

Tella would improve that mark to 23-7.5 by his senior year and then went over 24-7.5 (and 51-10 for the triple) in college. Khaulder had been set to be the heir apparent to those records.

He was one of the first ever eighth-grade state champions when he leapt 22-10.5 in 2022. However, a year later Bryan emerged and captured the freshman state record before Khaulder could, hitting 22-4 in late January. 

Not to be outdone, Khaulder came back and re-took the record for himself two weeks later, hitting a season best of 22-7.5, which was a new record, too. Both would have their struggles at the New York Indoor State Championship runway, but both would move on to outdoor season.

Fast forward to Saturday, the rivalry renewed at the Jack Reed Invitational held at Nazareth University. It was the first of a few matchups set for this season; the fireworks didn't disappoint. 

Khaulder opened his season in the event with a lifetime best jump of 23-2.25, but it would be Bryant who would win the day. 

Bryant had a lifetime best of his own and launched a 23-4.25 state-leading performance to edge out the win. It now comes within an inch of capturing that sophomore state record. The pair are now U.S. No. 8 and U.S. No. 12, respectively, while also being the top sophomores in the country by at least six inches.

We'll expect to see the sophomores go to battle more than once this season, as their state indoor qualifier runs through each other. 

Long Jump isn't their only exclusive events, either, as Khaulder had held the 55m state lead for the first month of the season, while Bryant has jumped 44-0 in the triple jump already this season.

We can't wait to see what's next.