NCAA DI Indoor Championships Preview: Men’s Jumps

NCAA DI Indoor Championships Preview: Men’s Jumps

The NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships are this weekend – March 13-14 – in Fayetteville, Arkansas, so to get you ready we’re breaking down each event at the Championships.

Here we look at the men’s jumps events, and we will take a look at those same women’s events in a separate article here.

Check back throughout the week for event group previews that include:

Be sure to tune in live on Friday and Saturday to ESPN3 (WatchESPN) to witness one of the best and most tightly contested indoor track & field meets on the planet.

For full meet details, visit the USTFCCCA National Championships Central page, and be sure to check out the USTFCCCA’s newly launched NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships History Record Book page.

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Men’s Pole Vault

Poor Andrew Irwin. By one metric, career points, the Razorback senior had the best career out of anyone competing in this year’s NCAA meet. And he gets to wrap up his indoor career on his home runway. But, if this year’s results and the descending order lists hold true, he’s going to get mowed down by Akron’s Shawn Barber.

Barber has been a machine this winter, jumping in seven meets and clearing higher than 5.80m in six of them. Those six clearances are all in the top ten in NCAA history, and his 5.88m jump at home and 5.90m vault at Arkansas are the two best ever by a collegian. In three years as a vaulter for the Zips, he’s only no-heighted one time–impressive consistency in a volatile event.

Jacob Davis’s former collegiate record of 5.85 meters from 1999 is still the meet record. Barber against that might be more compelling than Barber against any humans this weekend.

Men’s High Jump

The HJ might be the tightest event at this meet; it’s certainly the tighest field event. Three men–Christoff Bryan of Kansas State, Jacorian Duffield of Texas Tech, and Wally Ellenson of Marquette–are tied for the national lead at 2.28 meters. Bryan McBride of Arizona State is the defending outdoor champ and two centimeters behind that trio this winter; Bradley Adkins is the top returner from indoor nationals and three centimeters off of the national lead.

Duffield beat Bryan and Adkins at the Big 12 meet, though, if this event weren’t convoluted enough for you, he cleared the same height as Kansas State’s NaTron Gipson at Big 12s.

Ellenson and Bryan are both relatively unknown quantities, though Ellenson has been much more consistent, winning all four times he’s jumped this year. Bryan won his first two meets before taking fourth in the Big 12.

The progression will be 2.10-2.15-2.20-2.23, then every 3 cm. The post-Derek Drouin/Erik Kynard world is an extremely democratic one, with a huge group of men in Fayetteville right now who can legitimately dream of winning.

Men’s Long Jump

What’s that dribbling sound? It’s track & field fans around the country pouring one out for Jarvis Gotch, who has the best long jump mark in the NCAA this winter at 8.12 meters, but can’t compete at the NCAA championship because Louisiana Tech failed to meet academic benchmarks and is ineligible as a team to compete at indoor nationals.

One man whose beverage is fully capped? Marquis Dendy. With Gotch out of the field, Dendy is a bigger favorite than he appears to be on paper. Though Arkansas’s Jarrion Lawson has jumped 8.03 this winter and Dendy has only leapt 8.02, Dendy’s last loss in the long jump was at the SEC outdoor meet last May. He beat Lawson handily at the SEC indoor meet two weeks ago.

Should Dendy or Lawson struggle with fouls–something that both have been known to do on occasion, including this year–Arkansas State’s Roelf Pienaar is lurking. The South African has jumped 7.97 meters this year. (With Texas State’s Aaron George at 7.87m, the Sun Belt actually has two of the top five long jumpers qualified for the meet)

Between Lawson and Dendy, the intangibles roughly balance out. Dendy will be shooting to help bring his team a title; Lawson will be competing on his home runway.

Men’s Triple Jump

Dendy is exactly as big as a favorite as he seems here. He’s jumped more than half a meter farther than anyone else in Division I this winter, and hasn’t lost to a collegian in the triple jump since losing to Division II St. Augustine’s DeJon Wilkinson at the Florida Relays last April.

Donald Scott is not a bad dark horse. The Eastern Michigan senior has not lost in the triple jump this winter, and has the No. 2 mark. This is his first NCAA indoor meet after making outdoor nationals twice.

Dendy is the clear pick, though. If you’re not familiar with one of our nation’s greatest Delawarians, listen to our podcast with him from January.