EUGENE, Ore. -- After winning the NCAA outdoor high jump championship, Texas Tech high jumper JaCorian Duffield said he has not jumped well at historic Hayward Field in the past.
How quickly things can change.
Two weeks later, once again in Eugene, Duffield broke his own high jump school record and secured a spot on Team USA at the U.S. Track & Field Championships, on Friday.
Duffield cleared 2.34m/7-8 on his second attempt, which was good enough for second place in the event, and a spot on Team USA to compete at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships, Aug. 22-30, in Beijing, China.
“This is just such a blessing,” Duffield said. “When I cleared 7’-8”, all I could think of was the next bar, because I knew Eric [Kynard] would clear it. I was feeling a lot more comfortable with the surface and my approach after NCAA Outdoors, so I knew I just had to get into a rhythm, and I was able to.”
He already cleared the qualifying “A” standard of 2.29m/7-6 earlier in the season, so a top-three finish meant an auto bid onto the national team.
Duffield will be joined in Beijing by 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Eric Kynard, who won the event, and Jesse Williams, who won gold at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships.
“Getting to represent the United States with guys like Eric [Kynard] and Jesse [Williams] is just amazing,” Duffield said. “I was watching Eric clear 7’-8” back when I was a freshman, clearing 6’-11”. To be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys and to get to compete with them is such a blessing.”
Duffield’s leap ties for the fifth-best clearance ever achieved by a collegiate athlete.
“What an incredible year for JaCorian,” Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. “Being two-time NCAA Champion, U.S. runner-up and breaking his school record once again is amazing. He will now be considered one of the elite collegiate jumpers, all time.”
Minutes later in the women’s javelin competition, Hannah Carson unleashed a school-record launch of 59.57m/195-5, good enough to break her previous school record by an astounding six feet. She took third place, but has yet to earn an automatic bid until she can hit the “A” standard in the event.
In the women’s triple jump, Paetyn Revell placed 12th, with a best mark of 12.76m/41-10.5.
In the junior division of the high jump, second team All-American Trey Culver cleared 2.17m/7-1.5 to place third. He is still eligible for selection to the junior national team.
Action continues tomorrow for Texas Tech at the U.S. Track & Field Championships, with appearances by Cierra White (200m dash), Shanice Stewart (long jump) and Todd Mickey (Junior 1,500m final).