Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, move over. You too, DeHart Hubbard. You guys just got some company.
A day after winning his third NCAA Long Jump title with the fourth longest jump in the meet’s 91-year history - 8.40m - Ngonidzdashe Makusha of Zimbabwe and Florida State University ran away from a strong 100me field to win in 9.89 seconds, a meet record and a collegiate record as well.
The three gentlemen noted above are the only previous athletes ever to win a double victory in the NCAA 100m and Long Jump – Hubbard in 1925 (9.8/100 yd and 7.89m), Owens in 1935 (9.8/100yd and 7.97m) and 1936 (10.2/100m (w) and 7.89m) and Lewis in 1981 (9.99 (w) and 8.25m).
All three also won Olympic gold medals, DeHart also making made history as the first black winner of an individual Olympic gold medal.
Both of Makusha’s victories were classics. He started off in the Long Jump on Thursday (9) with three sub-8-metre jumps which left him third behind Jamaican Damar Forbes (8.15w) of Louisiana State and Will Claye of Florida (8.08m), and then popped the big one in round four in still air and followed it up with 8.36m (w 0.9), before passing his final attempt, which had to be postponed, along with those of Forbes, Claye and defending champion Marquise Goodwin, until Friday (10) because of a series of electrical storms. Makusha, in fact, wisely stayed in his hotel to rest up for the 100m final, figuring that his 8.40m would hold up.
The chunky (1.78m, 73kg) Florida State junior was in lane 4, with Zambian Gerald Phiri of Texas A & M to his left and Florida State teammate Maurice Mitchell on his right in lane 5 and favorite Rakieem 'Mookie' Salaam of Oklahoma in 6.
Phiri was away best but was caught at 40 metres by Mitchell and Salaam, with Makusha a half-metre back. Mitchell took a slight lead by 60 metres, but then Makusha surged, almost suddenly and certainly powerfully and won “going away” by more than a metre – dazzling speed at the end of a race, reminiscent of many of Lewis’ big 100m wins.
Said Makusha, who finished fourth in the Long Jump at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, of his winning jump, “I just wanted to win. I told myself I was supposed to go out there and and go the deepest. So that’s what drove me. I went down the runway and everything worked all right. And I had a good jump.”
Of his 100m, he said, "I'm not a strong starter. It's just the way I run. When I turned back and looked at the clock, I heard everybody screaming. It's a good feeling."
Salaam finished in 9.97, the 21-year-old's first trip into sub-10 territory.
But Matusha wasn’t finished. On Saturday (11) he came back to run the second leg in Florida State’s winning 4x100m Relay effort.
But even without Matusha’s heroics, the meet would have been memorable. His Florida State teammate, Maurice Mitchell, won the 200m in a wind-aided 19.99 (+2.6), after taking third in the 100 in 10.00.
In the women’s sprints, Kimberlyn Duncan of Louisiana State won the 200 in a fast 22.24 (+1.5) and in the 100 finished a few centimetres behind surprise winner Candyce McGrone of Oklahoma, 11.08 to 11.09 (+1.5).
In stellar Triple Jump duel, Taylor sails windy 17.80m
The men’s Triple Jump matched the Long Jump both in quality and in intensity. Christian Taylor of Florida opened with a jump of 17.32m (+2.0). His teammate, Will Claye, passed him with a third-round try of 17.35m (+1.5). So in Round Four, Taylor raised the ante to 17.40m (+2.0), only to be re-passed one jump later by Claye’s 17.41m (+2.3). After a quiet Round Five, Taylor raced down the runway, hit the board perfectly and stretched out to…17.80! Yes, there was an aiding wind of 2.3 m/s, but still, 17.80m is 17.80m. And everyone watched Claye’s response: it was massive -- but short – at 17.62m (2.9). They put on a helluva show, and they both have another year of eligibility.
The men’s 800m was especially good. Ethiopian-born Charles Jock of UC Irvine led for almost the entire race, including a sub-50 first 400 metres, only to be passed in the last 30 metres by Virginia’s Robbie Andrews, who had been dead last and 20 metres back with half a lap to go. They finished in 1:44.71 and 1:44.75.
There were two outstanding doubles in the women’s events. Canadian Sheila Reid of Villanova used a strong finishing kick to win the 5000m in 15:37.57 and came back the next day (June 11) to win the 1500 in similar fashion in 4:14.57. Ryann Krais finished third in the final of the 400m Hurdles in 55.89, and minutes later came back to win the heptathlon 800 in an excellent 2:12.53 and finish off a first place in the hep with 5961 points.
And in the Decathlon, which turned out to be a three-day affair because of electrical storm delays, Mike Morrison of California finally got past the 8000-point barrier. And he did it with a vengeance, posting a lifetime best of 8118. Close behind, thanks to 960 points from a 3:59.13 1500m, was freshman Curtis Beach of Duke, who totaled 8084. Put both of them in the file for 2016.
James Dunaway for the IAAF