It's a decision that Jerry Wells is pleased with.
Having enough credits for his diploma, the Simon Gratz High junior had the option to graduate next month.
A standout in track and field, he also could have remained in school to ensure a full college scholarship.
Opting for the former, the 17-year-old will attend Baylor University in the fall.
"I'm very pleased," Wells said. "I'm not getting a full scholarship. . . . But Baylor is a well-recognized college for track. They also have great coaches."
In Wells, Baylor will get the Public League's best long jumper.
The 17-year-old lived up to that title during yesterday's field-events portion of the PIAA District 12 track and field championships, winning the Class AAA long jump and the triple jump at Germantown High's Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium.
His winning leap of 21 feet, 9 inches was 1 foot, 71/2 inches ahead of the 20-11/2 posted by Benjamin Franklin's Tajidin McGough, the runner-up in the long jump. Wells followed that with a 44-71/2 effort in the triple jump. Central's Devin Jackson was second at 43-0.
Wells will get an opportunity to win more district titles.
He is scheduled to compete in the 200-meter trials during today's track events at Northeast High. The Class AAA 200 final is set for tomorrow at Northeast. Wells also will run a leg on the Bulldogs' 4x100-relay team tomorrow.
The versatile athlete didn't envision this being his final high school season after he transferred from Penn Charter last spring.
At the Inter-Ac League school, the North Philadelphia resident was scheduled to graduate in 2008. But thanks to Penn Charter's demanding curriculum, he was promoted to the 11th grade after transferring to Gratz.
"It was so advanced at Penn Charter," he said. "I was taking so many courses. I was taking high school courses during my middle-school years. I had so many credits that once I came to Gratz, all I had to do was test out of" the 10th grade.
Taking mostly electives this year, Wells thought long about his decision to move on.
"I really need this," he said of forgoing his last season of eligibility. "My family doesn't get too much money. So I'm trying to go to college, do what I have to do, and get money for the family."
The top-two Class AAA finishers in each event and the Class AA winner automatically advance to the PIAA state championships May 25-26 at Shippensburg University.
The competitors with the 12 best overall performances in yesterday's meet will compete in the Public League championships at Northeast on May 18.
CLASS AA GIRLS
Team scoring (through four events): Masterman, 60.50; Engineering and Science, 33; Swenson, 26.50; Paul Robeson, 25.50; Communications Tech, 5.50; Robert Vaux, 4.
High jump: 1, Morgan Heath, Engineering and Science, 4 feet, 8 inches; 2, Denise Fortune, Paul Robeson, 4-6. 3, Ogadinma Anyanwu, Masterman, 4-6.
Long jump: 1, Asha Jaramogi, Masterman, 16-71/2. 2, Tamera Warren-Jackson, Engineering and Science, 16-3. 3, Morgan Heath, Engineering and Science, 15-11/2.
Triple jump: 1, Asha Jaramogi, Masterman, 34-7. 2, Barbara Williams, Masterman, 32-3. 3, Asa Childs, Swenson, 32-2.
Shot put: 1, Mia Waring, Swenson, 32-91/4. 2, Brianna Williams, Masterman, 30-8. 3, Porscha Canada, Swenson, 26-6.
CLASS AAA GIRLS
Team scoring (through five events): Girls High, 46; Central, 42.50; Germantown, 19; Simon Gratz, 17; West Philadelphia, 13; University City, 8.50; Benjamin Franklin, 7.50; Frankford, 4; Edison-Fareira, 3.50; Overbrook, 2; Northeast, 2; Murrell Dobbins, 1.
High jump: 1, Jessica Alston, West Philadelphia, 4-10. 2, Persha Lane, Simon Gratz, 4-8. 3, Joelle Neilson, Girls High, 4-6.
Pole vault: Madeline Ballard, Central, 7-0.
Long jump: 1, Saqenda Dallas, Girls High, 18-11/4. 2, Jordan Muse, Girls High, 16-6. 3, Maya Malcolm, Germantown, 16-31/2.
Triple jump: 1, Joelle Neilson, Girls High, 37-3. 2, Naomi Johnson, Central, 36-13/4. 3, Saqenda Dallas, Girls High, 34-8.
Shot put: 1, Alica Wilson, Germantown, 38-53/4. 2, Elisha Gray, Central, 33-1. 3, Rashonda Hardnett, Simon Gratz, 32-11.
CLASS AA BOYS
Team scoring (through four events): Engineering and Science, 39; Communications Tech, 37; Masterman, 33; Strawberry Mansion, 21; Imhotep Charter, 17; FitzSimons, 2; Bodine, 1.
High jump: 1, Devon White, Strawberry Mansion, 5-8; 2, Gary Miles, Communications Tech, 5-6; 3, Desmont Wade, Communications Tech, 5-6.
Long jump: 1, Herman Kirkland, Imhotep Charter, 21-8. 2, Jordan Perkins, Masterman, 19-83/4. 3, Dwayne Hyman, Engineering and Science, 19-3.
Triple jump: 1, Jordan Perkins, Masterman, 39-61/2. 2, Gary Miles, Communications Tech, 37-10. 3, Darrell Mills, Engineering and Science, 37-31/2.
Shot put: 1, Darrell Mills, Engineering and Science, 41-71/2. 2, Sharif Braxton, Masterman, 39-4. 3, Avery Kellam, Engineering and Science, 38-4.
CLASS AAA BOYS
Team scoring (through five events): Simon Gratz, 23; William Penn, 20; Benjamin Franklin, 18; Central, 17; Frankford, 15.16; Overbrook, 13.50; Olney, 12.16; Northeast, 11.66; Swenson, 6; George Washington, 5.16; Martin Luther King, 3; West Philadelphia, 3; Abraham Lincoln, 2.16; Edison-Fareira, 2; Roxborough, 2; Murrell Dobbins, 1.16; Germantown, 1.
High jump: 1, Tajidin McGough, Benjamin Franklin, 6-2. 2, Marc Allen, William Penn, 6-0. 3, Reginald Smalls, Northeast, 5-10.
Pole vault: All three competitors failed to clear the opening clearance height.
Long jump: 1, Jerry Wells, Simon Gratz, 21-9. 2, Tajidin McGough, Benjamin Franklin, 20-11/2. 3, Marc Allen, William Penn, 20-0.
Triple jump: 1, Jerry Wells, Simon Gratz, 44-71/2. 2, Devin Jackson, Central, 43-0. 3, Marc Allen, William Penn, 41-11.
Shot put: 1, Tyree Dudley, Frankford, 41-0. 2, Frank Randall, Olney, 39-101/2. 3, Kennard Martin, Northeast, 39-8.