Bridgeton High School junior Braheme Days Jr. is constantly looking to improve in his high school track and field career.
He undoubtedly has had one of the best indoor seasons by any high school athlete in the nation this year.
Days holds the area record in the shot put and has the best throw in the country this winter after putting the shot 70 feet, 8 inches at the 78th annual Eastern State Championships at the New York Armory on Feb. 28.
Days is The Press Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“It feels great. I worked hard this season and accomplished a few big goals like the Eastern State Championshi, and it was really fun,” Days, 17, said Monday in a phone interview.
The meet was the first time Days surpassed 70 feet.
He is the second high school male in state history to do so.
“Seventy wasn’t even really a specific goal of mine, and then when it happened, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool,’ ” said Days, a 6-foot-1, 299-pounder, said. “More than anything, I was just excited about winning the meet.”
This also was the second time this season Days had the country’s best throw.
On Feb. 18, he threw a national-best 69-2 at the state Group II championships.
“I put in a lot of hard work and it came back later in the form of a national title and the national lead, but you kind of have to take it as it comes,” Days said. “You can’t hold on to things. You have to say, ‘This happened, it was fun while it lasted and now it’s on to something new.’ ”
That is exactly what Days did. A week later, he won his first Meet of Champions title with a throw of 67-8.75.
“That was huge for me,” Days said. “When you’re from New Jersey, the Meet of Champions is huge. That’s the meet everyone is at and I really enjoyed showing up and competing. It meant a lot to me to win my first MOC title.”
Before he cleared 70 feet, Days threw a personal-best 69-2 to take the Group II title. To add to that, he also broke the meet record of 63-11, which was set by former Bulldog and current assistant coach Ray Wilks in 1995.
“We always joke around about it, but he’ll tell you himself, records are made to be broken,” Days said. “It being my coach's record, though, makes it that much more special.”
“He is very coordinated and very powerful,” Wilks said Tuesday in a phone interview. “It’s gratifying for me. You always want to see one of your own succeed. It’s been such a pleasure and enjoyment to watch him accomplish all these things. He has made us all very proud.”
Days talks a lot about always improving, which is something he has continued to do. In the beginning of January, he was throwing 58-11.5 at the South Jersey Track Coaches Association small-schools meet.
“It’s really cool (to see how he has improved this season alone),” Days said. “This season started off a little slow for me, but I’m happy it did. You don’t really need the big tosses to come out in January. Coach always told me, we don’t want to be good in December and January, we want to be great in February and March and the same thing applies for the outdoor season.”
Days looks to improve and add another stellar outdoor season to his list of accomplishments. Last year, he was named The Press’ Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year after a breakout season.
“Outdoor has always been the bigger and more glorified of the two seasons,” Days said. “Things like Penn Relays, the state championships and the Meet of Champions are such big meets. I’m looking forward to working hard and getting better so we can be in a position to compete well at all those big meets.”
And Days knows exactly where he needs to be in order to be in a position to continue improving and making an impact at those big meets.
“You don’t ever want to get satisfied,” Days said. “Once you get the idea that you’re at a certain level rather than I want to be at a certain level, well that’s when you start to get in trouble.”
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