SHELBY McEWEN WON two high-stakes battles: one with JuVaughn Harrison and the other with the bar. McEwen won the event and cleared the WC qualifying mark of 7-7¾ (2.33), making him and Harrison the only Americans with the requisite performances.
Entering the meet having only two competitions under his belt and a season best of just 7-3¼ (2.22), McEwen was still to be reckoned with. He finished 3rd at last year’s Olympic Trials and 12th in the Olympic final, both times losing to Harrison. The two tied in Doha in their one earlier meeting this year and Harrison started as the clear favorite.
With an aggressive bar progression and a thin field of 14, lower places were determined quickly. At the opening height of 7-1½ (2.17), 6, including McEwen and Harrison, cleared on first attempt, while 3 no-heighted.
At the second height, 7-3¼ (2.22), McEwen was the only one over on first attempt, with two attempts needed by Harrison, Dontavious Hill and Darius Carbin. NCAA indoor champion Vernon Turner and 3-time Div. III champion Kyle Rollins cleared on third attempt, the field cut to 6 after just two heights.
With the bar again moved up 5cm to 7-5¼ (2.27), McEwen led with a clean slate, with Harrison and Hill tied for 2nd. Harrison was the only jumper to clear on first attempt, taking the lead. McEwen cleared on second attempt, while Carbin passed his second. Hill, Rollins and Turner missed three times each to take places 4-5-6.
With the bar raised to 7-6½ (2.30), McEwen, first up, cleared on his initial try to take the lead. Carbin retired, apparently having hurt himself during his first try at the preceding height. Harrison cleared on first attempt, now tied with McEwen, each with only one miss through the competition.
The crosspiece was raised to the WC qualifier, 7-7¾ (2.33). McEwen and then Harrison missed their first attempts. When McEwen cleared on his second, he joyfully leaped off the pad having guaranteed his return to Hayward Field less than 3 weeks away. Harrison missed twice more, and McEwen ended his day with two misses at a world lead-equaling 7-8¾ (2.36) and a final miss at an American Record-matching 7-10½ (2.40).
The 26-year-old McEwen finally made a quick trip to the interview tent, and explained, “It’s been a tough season. I’ve been around the last 2–3 years now, I’m starting to grow, starting to develop, trust the process.
“Its all mental. I know what it takes to be an elite jumper. Its all about staying focused mentally, working hard.”
MEN’S HIGH JUMP RESULTS
1. Shelby McEwen (Tracksm) 7-7¾ (2.33) = PR (AL);
2. JuVaughn Harrison (Puma) 7-6½ (2.30);
3. Dontavious Hill (Aub) 7-3¼ (2.22);
4. Darius Carbin (unat) 7-3¼;
5. Kyle Rollins (StJF) 7-3¼ PR;
6. Vernon Turner (Ok) 7-3¼;
7. Darryl Sullivan (unat) 7-1½ (2.17);
7. Trey Culver (adi/WWest) 7-1½;
=9. Raymond Allen (Louis) 7-1½;
=9. Mayson Conner (Nb) 7-1½;
… nh—Tyler Arroyo (unat), Ethan Harris (GCan), Brayden Sorensen (NbK), Portejoie Tshiaba (CSLA.