Future College Stars: Former HS Greats Make Indoor Debuts

* Current Georgia freshman Will Sumner competes at the 2022 VA Showcase as a senior at Woodstock High School.

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Some notable underclassmen have made quite the first impressions in their 2023 indoor season debuts at the collegiate level.

And some of the names should be quite familiar, still only a few months removed from record-breaking and title-winning performances as high school athletes.

Similar to our high school 'Future Stars' athlete features, we highlight some of the talented freshmen who could very well rise up through the NCAA ranks throughout their collegiate careers.

We begin with some of the freshman who begin their collegiate indoor seasons on the heels of storied high school campaigns. 

Below, we break down some of the key performances seen so far from college freshmen in 2023.

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Jordan Anthony, Kentucky

HS: Tylertown (MS)

Anthony is already well on his way to sprint greatness at the NCAA level.

The two-sport athlete transitioned from football training with the Kentucky Wildcats to competing on the indoor track quite seamlessly, making his collegiate debut at the Rod McCravy with school freshman record 6.57 in the 60m.

But since then, he's risen up the 60m ranks. On Jan. 20 at the TTU Red Raider Invitational, Anthony lowered his own freshman all-time mark to 6.55 to win the event out of a field featuring six upperclassmen. He also clocked 20.98 to place sixth in the 200m.

His 60m effort ranks fourth-best in the NCAA so far in 2023.

Only two competitions into this season, Anthony has already put himself just .01 off the all-time Kentucky men's indoor 60m record.

As a high schooler at Tylertown (MS), Anthony was a multi-time national champion indoors and outdoors in events from the 60m up to the 200m. He ended his high school career with an impressive 200m win at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships with a 20.35 mark for US No. 8 all-time.

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Kaila Jackson, Georgia

HS Club: Detroit Renaissance 

The all-timer on the AAU circuit didn't wait long to make an impression in her first meets as a Georgia Bulldog.

Right out of the gate at the Clemson Invite on Jan. 13, Jackson not only logged one of the best performances of her track and field career, but one of the best all-time efforts in U20 history. A 7.18 mark in the 60m to put Jackson only behind U.S. talent Talitha Diggs in the race and ranks as the 10th-best performance in the world U20 60m record books.  

Currently, that ranks Jackson as the fifth-best sprinter over 60 meters so far this indoor season.

A week later at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational, Jackson went 23.38 in the 200m, which is nearly a half-second better than her previous lifetime best, indoor and outdoor.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though, to already see Jackson succeeding in a big way. Since her middle school days, she's been a dominant sprint force in Michigan and has won numerous Michigan, AAU Junior Olympics and New Balance Nationals titles.

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Tarik Robinson-O'Hagan, Mississippi

HS: Woonsocket (RI)

Robinson-O'Hagan has already turned into a sensational competitor across two events.

The former throws star out of Rhode Island -- now of Mississippi -- currently ranks fourth in the NCAA in the weight throw behind a 72-11.75 best at the Commodore Challenge and seventh overall in the shot put with a mark of 64-3 from last weekend's Vanderbilt Invitational.

Those two marks are both Mississippi indoor school records in the men's weight throw and shot put.

For someone that's used to winning in the throws, Robinson-O'Hagan is certainly fitting the bill with three event wins and a runner-up finish in four events contested so far this season.

As a senior at Woonsocket (RI), Robinson-O'Hagan didn't lose a single weight throw competition during the indoor season and ended his perfect campaign with wins at Nike Nationals and USATF Youth Indoor Nationals.

Ranking among the best in the country in not one, but two events as a freshman would be quite the statement-maker for Robinson-O'Hagan.

And come outdoor, look to see Robinson-O'Hagan potentially contend for All-American status in the hammer throw, an event he went also undefeated in through 10 meets during his senior outdoor season in 2022.

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Tessa Mudd, Princeton

HS: Charleston Collegiate (SC)

South Carolina high school state record holder Mudd entered the highly-competitive collegiate pole vault sphere prepped to contest.

Mudd cleared a height of 14-1.75 at the Villanova Invitational last weekend to put her at No. 7 on the collegiate leaderboards and remains undefeated so far this season in the event in through three meets.

14-1.75 makes for not only an indoor personal best for Mudd, but also a Princeton school record and Ivy League record in the women's pole vault.

That's certainly not a bad way to begin a college career.

Last year on the runway as a high school senior, Mudd won both the adidas indoor and outdoor national titles in the girls pole vault and went undefeated in a 16-meet outdoor season. Through three collegiate meets, she sits less than two inches off her all-time best in the event of 14-3.25 from adidas Outdoor Nationals.

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Will Sumner, Georgia

HS: Woodstock (GA)

The high school national record holder at 500m and 600m continues to put together all-time efforts in the event -- but now as a college athlete.

In his first go at the 600m in a Georgia singlet, Sumner impressed with a No. 8 all-time collegiate performance of 1:15.32 at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational.

Only Arkansas senior Christopher Bailey has gone faster than Sumner in the 600m so far this season with a nation-leading mark of 1:15.18.

He's also posted times of 34.44 in the 300m and 2:25.33 for the 1,000m, two events which he never ran as high schooler at Woodstock (GA).

Sumner grabbed quite the national attention as a senior last year as an all-time great at the middle distances, setting two national records during the indoor season in the 500m and 600m and clocking a US No. 3 all-time 1:46.53 in the outdoor 800m.

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Juliette Whittaker, Stanford

HS: Mount De Sales Academy (MD)

It should come as no surprise that Whittaker began her indoor season by adding yet another record to her name.

Whittaker, who owns national high school records in the outdoor 800m and indoor 1,000m, can now add a Stanford program record to her resume after a 2:02.48 800m debut at the UW Preview on Jan. 14.

The previous Stanford indoor record of 2:03.25 had stood for nearly 10 years, set by Justine Fedronic back in 2014. Whittaker winning time also surpassed the previous UW Preview all-time meet record in the event.

Her all-time mark puts her on top of the 800m collegiate rankings currently this indoor season.

But Whittaker is used to writing her name in the history books, upending the U.S. high school record lists as a senior at Mount De Sales Academy (MD) last year. Her 1:59.04 800m record from the outdoor season makes Whittaker one of only two high schoolers to ever dip under two minutes in the half-mile, and she entered her Stanford freshman year as the USATF U20 champion in the event.