West Bloomfield High’s AJ Abbott, left, stands with football coach and assistant track coach Ron Bellamy June 2 at the Division 1 track state final. Abbot won the long jump championship and broke the school record in the process.

West Bloomfield High’s AJ Abbott, left, stands with football coach and assistant track coach Ron Bellamy June 2 at the Division 1 track state final. Abbot won the long jump championship and broke the school record in the process.

Photo provided by West Bloomfield High


West Bloomfield High’s AJ Abbott wins state title

By: Edward Zilincik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 11, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — A school record and a state championship.

West Bloomfield High’s AJ Abbott accomplished both with one jump at the Division 1 state final June 2 at East Kentwood High.

His winning leap was 23 feet, 7.25 inches.

“The school record is pretty important to me, because that’s always going to be there unless someone breaks it,” said Abbott. “I’m proud to have that record and to have won the state title in long jump.”

Abbott has been competing in track and field since middle school, but he’s also made his mark on the football field. This fall he’ll suit up at receiver for the University of Wisconsin.

Abbott is not sure whether he will continue his track career going forward. 

“If the opportunity comes up, I would be open to it,” said Abbott. “I’m happy with what competing in track and field accomplished for me. It kept me in shape, it kept up my athleticism and helped grow my friends group.”

Coach Brian Murphy has led the West Bloomfield track program for eight years. He credited the help from assistant coach Ron Bellamy — who is also the Lakers’ football coach — and the extra work Abbot put in for his success.

“Abbot did (Amateur Athletic Union) track, so that most likely helped him this season as well,” said Murphy. “Overall though, he is one of the most athletic players I’ve ever coached, and you can’t teach that.”

While Abbott is sad to have his high school career come to an end in both sports, he is exuberant at the thought of being a Wisconsin Badger this fall.

“Obviously I want to have the college experience, but my ultimate goal for my time at Wisconsin is to change the offense,” he said. “With the group of receivers we have for next season, I’m hoping the team will sort of change from more of a run-first team to a run-and-pass-first team going forward, or sort of a dual threat.”