Video clip of Warren Central eighth-grader’s long jump flip goes viral

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2019

When Willie Mosley flipped, the world flipped out.

The Warren Central eighth-grader won the Little Six Conference championship in the long jump last week with a leap of 18 feet, ¾ inches. What he did wasn’t as remarkable as how he did it — with a twisting, sideways flip that instantly turned him into an internet celebrity.

A five-second video clip of the jump has had 129,000 views on Twitter. Television stations in Jackson have aired the clip and called him for interviews. It’s made for a fun week for the soft-spoken Mosley, who is in his first year competing in track and field.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the comments already,” he said with a smile. “Some of them are people that probably didn’t even like me.”

On the jump, Mosley ran down the runway, turned slightly as he reached the jump line, and then flipped forward and sideways.

Mosley’s flip took the world of Mississippi track and field by storm with its originality and daring, especially at the biggest and last junior high meet of the season. It was actually weeks in the making, though.

Warren Central’s jumpers frequently do drills in practice that involve flipping to master certain aspects of their technique. Mosley simply did it in a meet — twice.

After pulling off the move in the preliminaries, Mosley did it again on the third of his six jumps in the finals. That was the one that was caught on video, and also the one that turned out to be the winning jump. It was two inches farther than the runner-up Marcus Thompson of Pearl Junior High.

“It was something he came up with. We’re in different places during the meet and the jumpers are on their own a lot of the time. He asked the officials if it was something he could do, and they said as long as you don’t go across the line it was OK,” Warren Junior track coach Kensell Batty said. “I saw it and was like, ‘What!?’”

Mosley said the reaction from his competitors was similar.

“It was wild,” Mosley said. “Half of them didn’t even want to jump anymore.”
Although the flip might have been viewed as showboating or risky by some, Mosley’s coaches said they weren’t mad at all. They saw it as proof of the work Mosley has put in to have the confidence and ability to pull it off. They also encourage their athletes to have fun with the sport, and said it was hard to get mad at Mosley for doing what they said.

“There’s not a day he misses practice. He’s always asking questions. I knew he wasn’t showing off. He was trying to have fun. Him asking the officials shows what kind of kid he is,” said Warren Junior assistant coach Vic Tyrone, who coaches the team’s jumpers. “He hit his spot on his mark. That goes to show the work he puts in.”

Tyrone and Batty added that Mosley frequently works and practices on his own, occasionally scouring the internet for videos that demonstrate different techniques. Now, in a twist, someone might one day study him.

“I think he went home and said, ‘What can I do?’ He worked hard at it,” Tyrone said. “It was beautiful to be a part of. If I coach another 40 years I’ll never forget this.”


About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest