Fayetteville, Ark. – The jump squad for the LSU track and field team brought it’s A-game on day one of the SEC Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Three titles; a collegiate record; 41 points; those are just a couple of descriptors that define the epic performance by the jumpers on Friday.
Mondo Duplantis set a collegiate record (19’ 5”) on the way to winning the pole vault, JuVaughn Harrison cleared a personal best of 2.28 meters (7’ 5.75”) to win the high jump, and Rayvon Grey leaped out to a winning mark of 7.86 meters (25’ 9.50”) in the long jump.
It was a storybook night for all three, but we’ll start with the new collegiate record holder in Mondo. A mark he’s been chasing for a little over a month now, Mondo cleared 19’ 5” (5.92 meters) en route to dethroning Shawn Barber’s (Akron) previous collegiate record of 5.91 meters (19’ 4.75”) that he set in 2015. He was perfect on the night on the way to the title clearing 5.54 meters (18’ 2”), 5.64 meters (18’ 6”), 5.79 meters (19’) and finally 5.92 meters (19’ 5”). He had attempted the collegiate-record height of 5.92 meters nine times this season – three at the Razorback Invitational (Jan. 26) and the other six attempts came inside the Carl Maddox Field House at LSU’s two home meets.
In addition to the collegiate record, Mondo’s jump also was a Swedish indoor record, a personal best indoors, LSU school record and the world lead for 2019. Before bowing out, Mondo attempted to clear 6.01 meters (19-8.50), a mark that has only been cleared by 10 men indoors in the history of the world; it would have been the sixth-best clearance ever indoors. Mondo became the 12th pole vaulter in LSU history and first since Daniel Trosclair did so in 2003 to win an indoor pole vault title.
“It was something that was in the back of mind the entire competition,” Duplantis noted in an interview with John Anderson. “I wanted to go in and secure the gold first, that was step number one. After that, if I was jumping by myself I was going to put it at the collegiate record and take some shots at it and I cleared it.”
Shortly after Mondo’s collegiate record, Grey was crowned as the champ for the men’s long jump. Entering the meet as the No. 1 jumper in the NCAA, Grey outlasted ‘The Bowerman’ candidate Grant Holloway of Florida. Grey’s winning mark of 7.86 meters (25’ 9.50”) was three quarters of an inch farther than Holloway’s best leap. Grey’s indoor title was the first for a men’s LSU long jumper since John Moffitt won one in 2003.
Harrison put the finishing touches on an excellent night for the jumps crew with gold in the high jump. Juggling long and high jumping duties, Harrison entered the high jump competition at 6’ 11” (2.11 meters), and after that, he proceeded to clear his next five heights (7’ 1”, 7’ 2.25”, 7’ 3.25”, 7’ 4.50”, 7’ 5.75”). His final clearance of 7’ 5.75” set a personal best for the sophomore from Huntsville, Ala., and improved upon his already No. 2 mark in school history. Harrison is three quarters of an inch below the school record holder Tom Lange (1992/7’ 6.50”). Both Harrison and Keenon Laine (Georgia) cleared the same height, but since it only took Harrison one attempt to clear the final height, he was tabbed as the champion. Harrison is the seventh LSU high jumper to win a SEC indoor title and the first in 27 years to accomplish the feat (Tom Lange).
Harrison also was able to score points for the Tigers in the long jump with a bound of 7.71 meters (25’ 3.50”); his mark earned him a fifth-place finish and he was joined by Kenan Jones in the point scoring category. A member of the LSU football team, it was the fourth collegiate meet of his career and he leaped out to a personal best of 7.64 meters (25-0.75) to take seventh and score two points.
The jumps crew scored all 36 points for the men on day one and that has LSU in second place with six of 17 events scored. The women’s team scored nine points on the first day of competition with points coming from the 5,000 meter run and long jump. The nine points has the women in 10th place.
Mercy Abire leaped out to a personal best distance of 6.26 meters (20’ 6.50”) to earn a fourth-place finish in the long jump for five points. Freshman Julia Palin clocked a 5,000 meter run time of 16:46.71 to take fifth place in her first ever conference meet on the track.
The rest of the day consisted of qualifying for the men and women. Kortnei Johnson and Akanni Hislop both qualified for the finals of the 60 and 200 meter dashes. Johnson clocked the fastest prelim time of the 60 meters with a readout of 7.14. Joining Johnson in the finals of the 60 meter dash will be Sha’Carri Richardson and Ariyonna Augustine. On the men’s side, Hislop is the only finalist in the 60 meters, but he will be joined by Jaron Flournoy and Dylan Peebles in the finals of the 200 meters. Flournoy clocked the second-fastest time of the season in the NCAA with a 20.55, and Peebles qualifying time of 20.69 ranks eighth nationally. The 20.55 by Flournoy matches his personal best, and Peebles’ personal best of 20.69 is the seventh fastest in LSU history. Both of those times are NCAA qualifying marks.
In the 60 meter hurdles, the men and women both advanced two apiece. Tonea Marshall and Brittley Humphrey will represent the women, and Damion Thomas and Arthur Price will run in the men’s final. Price’s qualifying time of 7.83 was a personal best and it ranks as the ninth fastest in LSU history.
The distance trio of Katy-Ann McDonald (800m run), Ersula Farrow (800m run) and Hollie Parker (mile) advanced with solid times. McDonald and Farrow clocked the two fastest times in prelims, and McDonald’s time of 2:05.11 is the ninth fastest in LSU history and eighth-fastest in the NCAA. Hollie Parker registered a season-best readout of 4:50.93 in the women’s mile to qualify for Saturday’s final.