CSC Long Jumper On Way To Nationals

Chadron State College long jumper Naishaun Jernigan and Coach Riley Northrup left Tuesday for the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Meet that is this weekend at Grand Valley State University at Allendale, Mich.

Jernigan qualified for the national meet while winning the long jump at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships on April 30 by going 7.80 meters, or 25 feet, 7 ¼ inches.  The jump took the NCAA Division II lead.  It now ranks fourth in the nation, but is just three inches shy of first place.

A native of Springfield, Mass., Jernigan came to Chadron State in the fall of 2019 after he and Northrup “hit it off,” in the coach’s words, while making contact via the internet and telephone conversations.  Jernigan excelled in both the long and triple jumps during the 2020 indoor season.  He placed second in both jumps at the RMAC Championships, going 23-3 ½ and 49-3.

The latter mark qualified him for the 2020 national meet, but it was cancelled because of the coronavirus a few hours before it was to take place in Birmingham, Ala. His only consolation was the fact that the National Coaches’ Association for Track and Field granted all the national qualifiers, which also included the Eagles’ Brodie Roden in the 400 meters, All-American status shortly afterwards.

Jernigan competed in both of the jumps during the 2021 indoor season. He qualified for nationals in the long jump by going 24-3 while winning the silver medal at the RMAC Meet and placed eighth at the NCAA indoor meet to earn All-American honors with a mark of  23-10 ¼.

During the 2021 outdoor season, Jernigan concentrated primarily on the long jump, leading up to his spectacular mark on his opening attempt at the RMAC Meet.      

As usual, the long jump will be one of the first events this week’s national meet. It will begin at noon (MT) on Thursday. Links to live results and streaming video can be found at ChadronEagles.com and NCAA.com. In addition, a watch party has been organized for The Pit in the CSC Student Center.

The long jump lead now belongs to Kizan David of Lincoln University in Missouri at 25-10 ¼, followed by Dhanushka Sandaruwan, the 27-year-old graduate student at West Texas A&M and a native of Sri Lanka, and Chris Goodwin of Central Missouri, both at 25-8 ¾.  Jernigan’s 25-7 ¼ is next.

Five more men have gone at least 25 feet this spring.

David won the DII National Indoor Meet long jump at 25-1 ¾, Goodwin was third at 24-10 and Jernigan was eighth at 24-3 while gaining All-American honors again. 

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