It’s been a bittersweet time for Dayton High’s J.J. Ply.
Ply, the talented multi-sport star, finished sixth in his age group in the decathlon at the U.S. Junior Nationals at Sacramento State University held Monday and Tuesday. Ply finished sixth with 6,016 points, including a win in the 1500-meter event on the second and final day of competition. Certainly cause for celebration.
Ryan Thomas won with 6,412 points.
On the first day of competition, Ply had two top-10 finishes, taking third in the high jump at 6-0 3/4 and placing sixth in the shot put with a throw of 38-0 3/4. He was 17th in the 400 with a 54.09, 19th in the long jump at 18-5 and 21st in the 100 at 12.43.
On the second day, he had four top-10 finishes. He was fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.24), sixth in the discus at 104-9, seventh in the javelin at 145-10 and he won the 1500. He was 12th in the pole vault at 11-5 3/4.
“My goal was to get 6,000 points in this event which I did,” he said. “Actually I was right where I wanted to be.
“The high jump I hadn’t practiced since the high school track season ended. I jumped at the Mt. Sac multis and the regional qualifier. I broke two poles (during the high school season). My confidence has gone down a bit (in that event). I took a tenth of a second of my time in the hurdles.”
Ply said he and hid family went over to the venue on Wednesday, and the family learned about a fire that destroyed their Dayton home in the parking lot when they were getting ready to leave to come home.
The only clothes the family has are the ones they took to Sacramento for the meet. The family is currently staying at the Gold Dust West. More than $2,000 through GoFundMe.com has already been raised for the family, and people in the community have pledged help in the way of clothing and belongings.