Jasmine Moore admitted she’s never totally sure of her first jump.
Friday afternoon at the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships was no exception. The University of Florida jumper and NCAA indoor record holder in the triple jump had plenty on her mind, from the altitude to a workshopped approach.
“I just wanted to focus on my run,” she said. “That’s something I’ve been working on.”
So, as the crowd started to bubble over in excitement as Moore scraped her way out of the pit after that first jump, she only wanted to be sure of what she might’ve just done.
“I was just kind of waiting to see the mark first,” she said with a smile.
That mark? 7.03 meters, shattering both the 7-meter barrier and Tara Davis’ two-year old NCAA indoor long jump record (6.93) in Moore’s first jump of the day.
Now the sole collegiate indoor record holder in two of three jumping competitions, her performance on Friday gave her all-time marks in an event she considers to be her “rocky” one.
If Moore wasn’t quite sure how things would play out this weekend, Florida associate head coach and jumps coach Nic Petersen wasn’t too surprised. In some ways, he expected it.
“We try not to talk about numbers and expectations,” he said. “But I mean, we knew seven meters was on the horizon. We knew she was capable of that today.
“Special athletes do special things. They step up at the biggest moments and that’s what (Moore) did tonight.”
Moore said she’d given the altitude considerable thought — even if she wasn’t totally sure how jumping at 5,000-plus feet affected her record-breaking attempt.
“People just say altitude is good and I was hoping for that luckiness whenever I came here,” she said, “and I’m happy that I got some of it.”
Petersen’s explanation? Seven meters is seven meters, no matter where you’re at.
“They say (if) the air is thinner,” Petersen said, “you go further, but I don’t know if it helps all that much. She jumped 7.03. I wouldn’t take anything away from that.”
And on a Friday afternoon in Albuquerque, nobody did.
“I could have shed a tear,” Moore said. “I was so happy.”
- If Moore’s record caught everybody off-guard, Julien Alfred’s 60-meter run minutes later was anything but surprising.
After all, few have made a home in Albuquerque Convention Center quite like Alfred has. Running in the first qualifying heat on Friday afternoon, the Texas sprinter and Saint Lucia native shaved 0.01 seconds off her NCAA indoor record with a blistering 6.96 for the top seed in Saturday’s final.
Alfred now has the eight fastest times in the indoor 60 in NCAA history – a ninth could very well be in play come Saturday afternoon.
- After pulling off a last minute kick in the final 100 meters, New Mexico’s Gracelyn Larkin finished seventh and earned a podium finish for the second straight year in the women’s 5,000 meter final with a time of 16 minutes, 27.76 seconds.
Larkin said racing in Albuquerque in front of her teammates, friends and even a professor was “awesome” and only added to being able to represent the Lobos on their home turf.
“I’m always excited to be able to put on the turquoise,” she said, referring to the jerseys Lobo runners get to wear only if they qualify for a national meet.
“It feels like an honor every time I get to put it on and compete for New Mexico.”
“(Gracelyn) always finds a way to score, so now we’ve managed to score some points for our team at the national championship,” UNM coach Joe Franklin said. “She’s a multi-time All-American now, and she’s evolving to be one of the best runners in the country.”
New Mexico’s Amelia Mazza-Downie finished 10th with a time of 16:33.71. Franklin said Mazza-Downie had an “off day” but was proud of her performance in a race he likened to a “pinball machine.”
North Carolina State’s Katelyn Tuohy won the 5,000 going away with a time of 16:09.65.
- Through four events in the men’s heptathlon, Georgia senior Kyle Garland holds the sole lead with 3,773 points — just 2,726 away from tying the NCAA indoor record of 6,499 set by former Oregon heptathlete Ashton Eaton at the 2010 NCAA Division I indoor championships.
Garland, the NCAA record holder in the decathlon, not only won the shot put, high jump and long jump but bettered all but of Eaton’s record-breaking marks in each event. The 2022 NCAA indoor heptathlon champion, Ayden Owens-Delerme (Arkansas), is in second with 3,618 points while Leo Neugebauer (Texas) is in third with 3,582 points.
The men’s heptathlon will conclude on Saturday with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run. In his final indoor meet with the Bulldogs, Garland might be competing for more than just a championship to wrap a highly accomplished collegiate career.
- If it wasn’t for an Arkansas (10:56.61) rally over the final 200 meters, sixth-seeded Stanford (10:56.34) would have won the women’s distance medley relay (DMR) handily with a spirited performance from Melissa Tanaka, Maya Valmon, Roisin Willis and Juliette Whittaker.
Well, maybe a little too spirited.
In a protest filed after the relay by Arkansas coach Lance Harter: “Stanford runner veered to (the) right forcing the challenging Arkansas runner to run a greater distance,” almost assuredly referring to the final 100-meter battle between Stanford’s Juliette Whittaker and Arkansas’ Lauren Gregory.
NCAA officials confirmed they reviewed the alleged infraction by video and rejected Harter’s protest.
- By the time Sondre Guttormsen had calmed down, it was just past 5 a.m. in Norway.
But he made sure to call. Even after winning back-to-back NCAA indoor championships — and tying K.C. Lightfoot’s NCAA indoor record of 6.00 meters with his final jump — the Princeton pole vaulter paced around near the podium, shoeless, smiling, talking rapidly in Nordic and completing a tradition that’s been a part of his routine for years.
Reporters approached. Guttormsen looked up from his phone.
“I’m ready to go,” he said. “It’s just my dad.”
Guttormsen was the picture of pure joy after beating out Texas Tech’s Zach Bradford in a dogged, three hour-plus marathon competition for the NCAA indoor pole vault title.
“I’m the kind that needs that pressure to do really well,” Guttormsen said of the atmosphere and lengthy event. “I struggle jumping really high if I don’t really have to … I’m thankful for this great competition that we had this whole year with Zach.”
And after? He was simply satisfied his bet paid off.
“I flew (in) from Turkey, which is nine hours away, and a 10-hour time change like four days ago,” he said. “So it was kind of a gamble for me (to compete) this year.
“It was kind of fingers crossed that I’d be able to do something here, too.”
That he did.