NCAA Women’s HJ — Griffith Rose To The Occasion

Two PRs at the most opportune moment brought home the HJ crown for Ball State junior Charity Griffith. (MIKE SCOTT)

SHE PLACED 5TH last year, and 5th at Indoors, yet not many people considered Charity Griffith to be a major contender here. Indeed, she hadn’t even made the list of 10 names on our formchart.

Could be because the Ball State junior has not been a high jump specialist. The winner of two Mid-American titles in the pentathlon indoors, she was runner-up in this year’s loop heptathlon with her PR 5632. Though she has jumped 6-2¾ (1.90) indoors, her outdoor best of 6-¾ (1.85) only tied her for No.8 in the field.

Yet Griffith came to Austin saying, “I have a shot.” Then she delivered a stunning performance, relegating favored Lamara Distin of Texas A&M to 2nd with a PR-equaling clearance at 6-2¾ (1.90) before going one better with a first-attempt make at 6-4 (1.93).

Griffith had a clean record through 6-½ (1.84), which put her in a 5-way tie. Distin took the sole lead by being the only competitor to clear 6-1½ (1.87) on a first try. Griffith responded by breaking her outdoor PR to clear on her second, as did Georgia’s Elena Kulichenko. Then Hawai‘i’s Lilian Turban made it on her third.

None of the four cleared 6-2¾ (1.90) on the first try. After Distin and Turban missed their seconds, Griffith flew over, tying her overall best. She watched as both Distin and Turban went out, while Kulichenko passed her one remaining attempt.

The bar moved to 6-4 (1.93). Griffith soared over it cleanly, and while she celebrated the PR, she had to wait for Kulichenko to miss before she could celebrate a victory.

“I’ve always had the drive to win an NCAA championship even though I was such a mediocre athlete in high school,” said Griffiths, who hit only 5-6 and a 10th in the Indiana State meet as a prep. “I’ve always told myself I was going to do it. It finally happened. I put it into action today.”

Her 6-4 ties her for the No. 7 performer in meet history, and made her Ball State’s first national champion since LaTasha Jenkins in the 200 in ’99.


June 10

1. *Charity Griffith (Ball) 6-4 (1.93) PR (=7, =8 NCAA) (also 6-1½/1.87 out PR & 6-2¾/1.90 PR);

2. Lamara Distin’ (TxAM-Jam) 6-1½ (1.87);

3. **Elena Kulichenko’ (Ga-Rus) 6-1½ (1.87);

4. **Lilian Turban’ (Hi-Est) 6-1½ (1.87) =PR;

=5. *Sanaa Barnes (Aub) 6-½ (1.84);

=5. **Claudina Diaz’ (Mo-Mex) 6-½ (1.84);

7. *Cierra Tidwell (BYU) 6-½ (1.84);

8. **Taylor Beard (Cinc) 6-½ (1.84);

=9. Grace Campbell (AzSt) 6-½ (1.84) =PR; =9. *Kristi Snyman’ (Jack-SA) 6-½ PR; 11. *Chinenye Agina (Duke) 6-½; 12. Rylee Anderson (Ks) 5-11¼ (1.81); 13. **Jenna Rogers (Nb) 5-11¼; =14. **Daniella Anglin’ (SD-Jam)5-11¼; =14. *Roschell Clayton’ (Vill-Jam) 5-11¼; =16. Nissi Kabongo (SFA) 5-11¼; =16. **Destiny Masters (Wich) 5-11¼; =18. **Madison Schmidt (NDm) 5-11¼; =18. Madison Yerigan (Nb) 5-11¼; 20. Alexa Porpaczy’ (Az-Can) 5-10 (1.78); 21. **Annika Kinley (Cinc) 5-10; 22. *Morgan Smalls (LSU) 5-10; 23. *Claire Bryant (Fl) 5-10; 24. *Meghan Fletcher (Murr) 5-8 (1.73).

5-8 5-10 5-11¼ 6-½ 6-1½ 6-2¾ 6-4 6-5½ 6-6¼
Bryant o xxo xxx
Snyman o o o xxo xxx
Distin ppp ppp o o o xxx
Turban o o o xo xxo xxx
Tidwell o xo xo o xxx
Smalls xo xo xxx
Porpaczy o o xxx
Schmidt o xo xxo xxx
Anderson ppp o o xxx
Griffith ppp o o o xo xo o xxx
Yerigan o xo xxo xxx
Campbell o o o xxo xxx
Diaz o o o o xxx
Barnes o o o o xx r
Rogers ppp o xo xxx
Agina xxo o o xxo xxx
Kabongo o o xxo xxx
Clayton o xo xo xxx
Kulichenko ppp ppp o o xo xxp x
Kinley xo o xxx
Beard o o xo xo xxx
Fletcher xo xxx
Masters o o xxo xxx
Anglin o xo xo xxx
1.73 1.78 1.81 1.84 1.87 1.90 1.93 1.97 1.99