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Purdue football signee Arhmad Branch wins Missouri Class 4 long jump title

Three-sport standout adds track championship to his resume

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – If Festus senior Arhmad Branch ever needs a reminder that he should believe in himself, he doesn’t have to look any further than the tattoo on his right leg.

Branch had the words “BELIEVE IN YOURSELF” inked on his right thigh a few years ago as a permanent reminder.

“It was whenever I started taking sports serious and people would tell me I was too small, too short,” Branch said, “so I just always told myself ‘Believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want to do if you just have faith.’”

Arhmad Branch Festus Missouri track and field championships 5-26-23 Nate Latsch 22160

That’s working out pretty well for the Tigers’ three-sport standout, who added to his impressive high school resume by winning the Missouri Class 4 long jump on Friday afternoon at Jefferson City High School's Adkins Stadium. 

“On my last jump I was in seventh place so it felt good to go out there and PR and get first,” Branch said.

Seventh with one jump left? Seventh?

“I just kept telling myself that this is gonna be the last time I get to do this,” Branch said, “so why not go out with a bang?”

Why not?

Branch, who will cap off his high school track career by competing in the triple jump on Saturday afternoon, is headed to play college football at Purdue University after receiving a late scholarship offer from the Boilermakers.

Branch was a late arrival to the Festus football team after first excelling as the Tigers’ point guard. But he quickly made his mark on the gridiron as well and established himself as one of the top wide receivers in the Show-Me State.

He went from a standout basketball player to a standout football player to a Big Ten Conference football player and now a track and field champion.

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s not hard to believe because I put the work in to get here,” Branch said. “I’m just looking at it as opportunities. God blessed.”

Branch could end up playing wide receiver or defensive back, but whatever opportunity he gets with the Boilermakers he’s going to put in the work to make the most of it.

“I always tell myself I’ve got to work,” Branch said. “When I go there, it’s a job. That’s how I think about it. Every night I go to sleep, every morning I wake up, it’s a job ahead of me and I’ve got an opportunity that a lot of people dream of, so I’m just going to go out there and take the opportunity like I can.”

Arhmad Branch Festus Missouri track and field championships 5-26-23 Nate Latsch 22159

MSHSAA Track and Field Championships

Photo gallery: Missouri Class 3-5 boys track and field championships (Friday)

Photo gallery: Missouri Class 3-5 girls track and field championships (Friday)

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