The outstanding performances by Chadron State College long jumpers on the national level continued Thursday, when the Eagles’ Naishaun Jernigan placed third in the event at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Allendale, Mich.
Jernigan jumped 7.65 meters, or 25-feet, 1 ¼ inches, while earning the bronze medal. It’s the fourth time at the last six DII national outdoor meets that a Chadron State long jumper has been among the medal winners.
Jernigan’s best jump came on his fifth attempt. It was just a half inch shy of the second place mark. He also went 24-10 on his final jump, which would have been good for fourth.
It’s the second time in 2021 that Jernigan has earned All-American honors in the long jump. He also was eighth at the National Indoor Meet in March, when he went 23-10 ¾.
He qualified for this year’s outdoor meet with a career-best 25-7 ¼ while winning long jump at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in late April. His best jump Thursday was the second best of his young career, indoors or outdoors.
A native of Springfield, Mass., Jernigan arrived at Chadron State in the fall of 2019 after he’d filled out a questionnaire on line, liked the response he received from Head Coach Riley Northrup, visited the college and soon afterwards came halfway across the country to join the Eagles.
Since the outdoor track and field season was cancelled last spring because of COVID-19, Jernigan is a freshman in eligibility. He was the only underclassman to finish among the top six Thursday.
“The weather wasn’t good. It was cloudy, chilly and windy,” Jernigan said. “But I felt great and knew what needed to do. It wasn’t too shabby.”
Northrup said he was proud of Jernigan’s performance.
“He’s got a lot of talent and made the most of it today,” the CSC coach noted. “I’ll always be happy when one of my athletes has his or her second best mark of the season at nationals.”
The long jump was won by Cameron Burrows, a senior from Tiffin University in Ohio. His winning jump was 25-4 ¾. He also went more than 25 feet on his remaining five attempts. He previous career-best was 24-9 ½.
This was the first time Burrows had qualified for the national meet in the long jump. However, he’s an outstanding high jumper who has cleared 7-½ this spring and will be competing in that event at nationals Friday
Second place went to Kizan Davis of Lincoln University in Missouri at 25-1 ¾. He was the long jump winner at this year’s National Indoor Meet.
Chris Goodwin of Central Missouri placed fourth at 25-¾, followed by Trpimir Sikori of Angelo State in Texas at 24-7 and Dhanushka Sandaruwan of West Texas A&M at 24-4 ½.
Two entries from RMAC rival Colorado-Colorado Springs, Peter Ackah and William Ross, were 10th and 11th with marks of 23-10 ¾ and 23-9. It took a 24-foot jump to qualify for the finals.
Chadron State’s previous All-American long jumpers outdoors are Damarcus Simpson, who won the event in both 2015 and 2016, and Isaac Grimes, the runner-up in 2019.