While Duncan scored the first 10 points of the championship for the No. 3-ranked Lady Tigers, the No. 4-ranked Tigers added 10 points of their own during Friday’s opening day of competition led by the second-place finish in the long jump by junior All-American Damar Forbes.
Forbes won his second career NCAA Championships silver medal with a second-place finish in the men’s long jump as he finished with a series-best mark of 26 feet, 2 ¾ inches on his third jump of the day.
Forbes opened with an impressive jump of 25-9 ½ on his first attempt to take the early lead, before he was passed by Texas standout Marquise Goodwin with his top mark of 26-2 ¼ in the second round of jumps at the top of the standings. Forbes then reclaimed first place in the third round of with a best of 26-2 ¾ in the first flight as he awaited the results from the second flight of jumpers.
That’s when he was passed again by Kendall Spencer of New Mexico as the Lobo junior soared 26-3 ¼ in the third round of jumps in the second flight to leapfrog Forbes by just two centimeters for first place. Spencer shattered his personal best as he did not record another mark better than 25-2 in his series.
Forbes nearly struck gold with his sixth and final jump of Friday’s final, but his effort of 26-1 for the final round came up just short in his bid to capture his first career NCAA long jump title.
It marked the second time in his career that Forbes won a silver medal at the NCAA Championships as he also took second place in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor meet as a sophomore in 2011 while setting a lifetime personal best of 27-0 and emerging as one of the nation’s premier long jump talents.
While Forbes scored eight points with his second-place finish, senior Kyron Blaise scored two points with his seventh-place finish while earning his first career All-America honor in the long jump. Blaise captured a spot in the final with a best of 24-10 in the prelims to move into eighth place after the third round for the second flight. He then popped a 2012 seasonal best in the sixth and final round of jumps at 25-5 ¼ to slide up one spot into seventh place and add another point to his total.
Forbes and Blaise combined to score the first 10 points of this year’s NCAA Indoor Championship for the Tigers as they finished the day in a tie for eighth place in the team standings.
“I feel like I’m the silver king right now,” Forbes said. “My goal is to always win it. I’m disappointed, but he (Kendall Spencer) had the jump of his life today. It’s bittersweet. I’m glad that I’m here at NCAAs and able to compete, but now I’m even more motivated to win it outdoors. I’m looking forward to it.”