DEFENDING CHAMP Jeron Robinson entered as the pre-meet favorite, undefeated against Americans this year but still short of the WC standard of 7-6½ (2.30), a height he cleared a half-dozen times last year. So while winning this year’s title was the immediate goal, qualifying for the World Championships was also paramount. Only Shelby McEwen entered with a qualifying height, having gone 7-7 (2.31) indoors in February.
Unfortunately not entering were ’12 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard, who hasn’t jumped all year after rating No. 2 in the U.S. last year, and Bryan McBride, who scaled 7-8½ (2.35) last year. Also missing was LSU’s NCAA champ JuVaughn Harrison.
The first casualty of note came early as 2-time NCAA winner Trey Culver Tech failed to get over the opening height of 6-11 (2.11), a height passed by Robinson, McEwen, 7-7 (2.31) performer Ricky Robertson and Keenon Laine, whose 7-5¾ (2.28) to win the SEC Indoor over McEwen already had him among the possible Doha add-ons. Robertson and Laine needed two attempts to get over 7-1 (2.16). Surprising early was Jonathan Wells, an Illinois senior who hadn’t competed all year but ran a clean record all the way to 7-4¼ (2.24), at which point the competition was down to 4 as Laine, Robertson and Jordan Wesner exited.
As the bar went to 7-5¼ (2.27), only Wells and Robinson were clean, while McEwen and JaCorian Duffield (a 7-8 jumper who swept the ’15 NCAA titles while at Texas Tech) had 2 misses each. Wells and Duffield both went out, a would-be PR for Wells. McEwen, a junior at Alabama who won the NCAA Indoor, was jumping first as the bar went to the Doha Q height of 7-6½ (2.30). Both he and Robinson needed all three to get over the bar. For McEwen it was an outdoor PR and temporary lead. Robinson matched the clearance to take back control and earn the Q to Doha he desired. As neither cleared 7-7¾ (2.33), Robinson earned the victory.
Said Robinson, “Me and my coach talked about being consistent. I came in confident. I was just trying to stay focused. I like to stay mellow.”
USATF MEN’S HIGH JUMP RESULTS
1. Jeron Robinson (unat) 7-6½ (2.30);
2. Shelby McEwen (Al) 7-6½ out PR;
3. Jonathan Wells (Il) 7-4¼ (2.24);
4. JaCorian Duffield (unat) 7-4¼;
5. Jordan Wesner (unat) 7-3 (2.21);
=6. Keenon Laine (Ga) 7-3;
=6. Ricky Robertson (unat) 7-3;
8. Earnie Sears (USC) 7-3;
=9. Avion Jones (unat) 7-1 (2.16);
=9. Kris Kornegay-Gober (Shore) 7-1;
11. Kevin Schultz (NWMo) 7-1;
=12. Zack Anderson (SD) 6-11 (2.11);
=12. Jack Durst (SD) 6-11;
=12. Ethan Harris (unat) 6-11;
=12. Kyle Landon (unat) 6-11;
16. Isaac Jean-Paul (unat) 6-11;
… nh—Jeffrey Giannettino (unat), Trey Culver (unat).