skip to Main Content
Jada Branch
Jada Branch finished 10th in the women's triple jump.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Pair of App State Track and Field Athletes To Compete This Weekend

App State senior Jada Branch and incoming freshman Matthew Gray are slated to compete at the 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships and USATF U20 Outdoor Championships, which are held simultaneously at Hayward Field on July 6-9.

Branch will appear in the women’s elite triple jump competition at 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) on Thursday, while Gray will compete in the men’s U20 pole vault on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET).

Branch returns to Hayward Field after finishing fifth in her flight and 14th overall (12.73m (41′ 9.25″) at last year’s USATF elite women’s triple jump competition. During the 2023 outdoor campaign, Branch clinched first at the Georgia Tech Invitational with a personal best leap of 13.13m (43′ 1″), which placed her at third in the App State record book. At the App State Open, she garnered another gold, posting a leap of 13.35m (43′ 9.75″) +2.5 wind. The Stafford, Va. native secured Third-Team All-SBC honors at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships with a leap of 12.86m (42′ 2.25″) and punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships after recording a mark of 13.09m (42′ 11.5″) to round out the top-12 at the NCAA East Prelims. As the first Mountaineer to make an appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2005, Branch finished 20th overall, recording a leap of 12.97m (42′ 6.75″).

The 2023 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships serves as the selection event for Open athletes on the 2023 USATF National Team for the 2023 World Athletics Championships, which will be held August 19-27 in Budapest.

Gray, who hails from Bryson City, N.C., is a two-time outdoor pole vault state champion and was the 2022-23 indoor pole vault state champion. Gray’s personal best clearance is 5.08m (16′ 8″) and he ranked seventh in the indoor pole vault and 13th in the outdoor pole vault nationally. During his high school career, Gray was tabbed a 2022 Outdoor Adidas Nationals All-American and 2023 Indoor Nike and Adidas Nationals All-American in the pole vault event.

The 2023 USATF U20 Outdoor Championships serves as the selection event for U20 athletes on the USATF National Team for the 2023 Pan Am U20 Championships, which will be held Aug. 4-6 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.