Pinnock makes big jump with personal best 8.37m
JAMAICA’S Wayne Pinnock has taken a massive step towards getting back to the World Athletics Championships (WAC) after he achieved the qualifying mark for the men’s long jump with a personal best 8.37m (0.2m/s) while winning the South-Eastern Conference (SEC) outdoor title at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge on Friday.
The former World Athletics Under-20 bronze medallist, who was ninth in the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon last year, led a 1-2 finish for the University of Arkansas with compatriot and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor Champion Carey McLeod who was second with a season’s best 8.14m (0.0m/s) as five Jamaicans scored in the event.
McLeod, who participated in the long and triple jump at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, and 2019 World Championships gold medallist Tajay Gayle have also achieved the qualifying marks for the World Championships that will be held in Budapest, Hungary, in August.
Pinnock broke his previous personal best twice on Friday as his first-round 8.15m (0.4m/s) beat the 8.14m he had jumped at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Championships last year.
The former Kingston College jumper moved up to number three for all time on the Jamaican list — only behind Gayle -8.69m and James Beckford -8.62m — and is ranked number two in the word and leads the NCAA.
Pinnock dedicated the win to his daughter whose birthday was Saturday and said: “I just stayed confident and executed,” adding, “I knew it was big. I had no idea it was that big but I knew it was big,” in reference to the second-round jump.
Former Calabar High athlete Jordan Turner of the University of Kentucky was sixth with 7.79m (0.1m/s), followed by Ryan Brown of Arkansas with a season-best 7.69m, and his teammate Shakwon Coke who also had a season-best 7.67m.
There were also wins on Friday for triple jumper Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Courtney Lawrence of Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun Conference, high jumper Daniella Anglin of the University of South Dakota in the Summit League, and Cobe Graham of Sam Houston State in the Western Athletics Conference.
A day after he fouled out of the men’s long jump for the second-straight year Owens, who was second in the triple jump in 2022 after he won in 2021, took the ACC title with just two legal jumps.
Owens, who is a fifth-year senior and will end his NCAA career this year, beat Russell Robinson of the University of Miami by a mere centimetre as he also equalled the Facility Record with his effort.
Lawrence of Kennesaw State, also a senior, won the men’s shot put at the Atlantic Sun Outdoor event in 19.44m, beating his former Petersfield High teammate Kevin Nedrick of Liberty University with -18.87m.
Former Excelsior High thrower Kimberly Lugg of Lindenwood University won the Ohio Valley Conference women’s discus throw title with 49.21m, which came from the final throw.
Lugg and her head coach, former Manning’s School and St Hughes High thrower Nadia Alexander-Pompey, were both coached by Michael Vassell.
Graham dominated the event at the WAC Championships, winning with 17.93m — almost a metre better than second place — and was the only thrower going over 17.00m on the day.
Anglin retained her Summit League Outdoors title after clearing a championships record 1.86m, equalling her personal best in the process.
It was Anglin’s fourth Summit League title as she also won two indoor events as well.