USATF Men’s Long Jump — Ward Wins, But No Q

Ja’Mari Ward bounced back nicely after his failure to advance from the NCAA Regional. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

ON A WET RUNWAY on the final day of competition, Ja’Mari Ward needed a season’s best effort to upend a veteran long jump field that included the reigning Olympic gold medalist. The Missouri soph led from the very first round but got the winning mark he needed in round 2, sailing 26-7¾ (8.12), just a centimeter off his PR.

While the win would not come with the needed WC standard, the 21-year-old Ward commented, “My coach and I sat down to talk about how I had to keep my head straight. I was a little upset with how things were going with injuries and setbacks, but we had to get my mind right and train as hard as we could and consistent.” He continued, “I can really accomplish my dreams. I want to be the best long jumper, so this is just my first step.”

Will Claye, fresh off a runner-up finish in the TJ on Friday, secured another 2nd in round 5 with a leap of 26-5½ (8.06). Claye praised the crowd, saying, “It is always amped and the fans always get us going. For me that’s what I feed off of. I get them going, they get me going, so it’s like a win-win when I’m doing my thing and then they’re cheering on. That just creates a great atmosphere for us to jump far.”

Behind Claye just 2cm separated the next three places. NCAA runner-up Trumaine Jefferson of Houston and Jarvis Gotch had matching jumps of 26-3¾ (8.02), but Jefferson took 3rd on a better second mark of 26-1¾ (7.97). Meanwhile, reigning Olympic champion Jeff Henderson, entering the meet as the U.S. list leader, had to settle for 5th with a sixth-round jump of 26-3 (8.00). That placing would be key though as Gotch didn’t have a Q either, giving Henderson a spot on the team along with Claye and Jefferson. Several days later, however, Claye signaled his preference for only tackling the TJ, opening a spot for 6th-placer Steffin McCarter.


USATF MEN’S LONG JUMP RESULTS

(July 28; winds varied from +2.4 to 0.1)

1. Ja’Mari Ward (Mo) 26-7¾ (8.12)

26-5¾, 26-7¾, 25-10¾, 25-11½, 25-5½, 26-5½) (8.07, 8.12, 7.89, 7.91, 7.76, 8.06);

2. Will Claye (PumNYAC) 26-5½ (8.06)

(25-7¼, 26-2¾, 26-1½, 26-5½, 25-9¼, f) (7.80, 7.99, 7.96, 8.06, 7.85, f);

3. Trumaine Jefferson (unat) 26-3¾ (8.02)

(f, 25-9½, 26-1¾, 25-11, 26-3¾, f) (f, 7.86, 7.97, 7.90, 8.02, f);

4. Jarvis Gotch (unat) 26-3¾ (8.02)

(25-7¼, 25-8¼, 26-3¾, 25-5½, 26-1, f) (7.80, 7.83, 8.02, 7.76, 7.95, f);

5. Jeff Henderson (adi) 26-3 (8.00)

(24-9¾, 25-10w, 25-4¾, 24-11, 25-11, 26-3) (7.56, 7.87w, 7.74, 7.59, 7.90, 8.00);

6. Steffin McCarter (Tx) 25-10¾w (7.89);

7. Justin Hall (TxT) 25-10¼ (7.88);

8. Damarcus Simpson (unat) 25-10 (7.87);

9. Isaac Grimes (FlSt) 25-9¼ (7.85);

10. KeAndre Bates (unat) 25-8¾ (7.84);

11. Jordan Latimer (Akron) 25-8¼ (7.83);

12. Charles Brown (TxT) 25-6¾ (7.79);

13. Kyle Darrow (unat) 25-5½ (7.76);

14. Malik Moffett (unat) 25-1¼ (7.65);

15. Zack Bazile (unat) 25-¾ (7.64);

16. Rodney Ruffin (SEnLa) 25-0 (7.62);

17. Will Williams (unat) 24-11 (7.59);

18. Corion Knight (unat) 24-7¾ (7.51). ◻︎

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