Taiwo Sets World Record In Heptathlon High Jump
Feb. 8, 2013
While the Dempsey Indoor was rolling through 5,000-meter races on the first night of the Husky Classic, word began to spread that Washington senior All-American Jeremy Taiwo had made history. Disbelief turned quickly into elation, as confirmation came in that Taiwo had cleared 7-feet, 4.50-inches in the heptathlon high jump, the fourth and final event of the first day of the competition at the Boise State Team Classic.
That high jump clearance is the best ever by an athlete competing in the heptathlon, the seven-event indoor competition which includes the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put, and high jump on day one, then the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault, and 1,000-meter run on day two. Taiwo had already been having a career day in the first three events, but then wrote his name into the history books in the high jump, clearing a remarkable five-inch career-best. The previous heptathlon high jump world record was 7-4 ¼, set by Scott Sellers in 2007.
"I woke up this morning and felt completely normal," said Taiwo. "Got to the track and I started feeling great in warm-ups. The 60 felt great, I had kind of a bad start but tried to finish well. Then it was awesome to get my first long jump in there and finally get over 24-feet. Rolled around to the shot put, I was nice and relaxed, and had a great warm-up throw around 15-meters. I ended up a little bit shy of that in but I know there's a lot more in there."
He had a bit of a wait for the high jump, as the bar started low. He would take his first attempt at 6-7, having "never come in that high before, so I was a little nervous. But the surface was firm and I knew I'd get some good return. I was excited to go, I was first attempt (clearing) everything. I knew when I cleared 2.22 (7-3 ¼), I knew I might tie the American record. I didn't want to think about it. So I didn't know (2.25) was a record until after the fact."
Taiwo, the 2011 Pac-12 Decathlon Champion and three-time All-American, will resume his competition tomorrow at the Jackson Track in Nampa. A strong final three events would secure a bid to his third NCAA Indoor Championships.
The Renton, Wash. native missed the entire 2012 season recovering from Tommy John surgery to his elbow as well as surgery on his hips to correct osteitis pubis. But when healthy, Taiwo has shown the talent for incredible things.
"I just feel stronger, faster and I've been able to have finally get a good base, and all fall to train, and this is what I can do when I'm healthy, I've always known this," said Taiwo. "So I'm thankful that I've been able to get a chance."
He began the day in the 60-meter dash, and ran 7.02 seconds, already a personal-best by four hundredths. Moving on to the long jump, Taiwo eclipsed a mark he had been long chasing, going past the 24-foot barrier for the first time. He went well past it, going 24-4 ¼ on his first attempt, which ties Kasen Williams for sixth on the UW indoor top-10, as Williams jumped the exact distance just two weeks ago.
That left the high jump. After finally obtaining the 24-foot mark in the long jump, Taiwo set his sights on clearing seven-feet for the first time in the high jump, as he had cleared 6-11 ½ on multiple occasions. Once he got over that barrier, he just kept rolling, winding up with the 7-4 ½ mark that likely will qualify him for the NCAA Indoor meet in the high jump, let alone the heptathlon. His day one total was a smashing 3,507, as he leads the competition by over 600 points. He is on pace to easily eclipse his school record of 5,780, but still needs to take care of business in the final three events tomorrow.
That high jump clearance also is the best by a Husky indoors or outdoors in 23 years. Only the legendary Rick Noji, a Husky Hall of Famer, has jumped higher. Noji went 7-5 indoors in 1988, and outdoors jumped 7-6 ½ in 1990.
Back in the Dempsey for the first night of the Husky Classic, it was another outstanding display of distance running excellence by dozens of the NCAA's top athletes. In the men's 5,000-meter top flight, the top 10 finishers ran the ten fastest times in the NCAA this season. In the women's 5k invite, eight women ran under 16-minutes, including Husky junior All-American Megan Goethals, who clocked 15:59.20 to finish as the No. 6 collegiate runner, which moves her up to 10th on the NCAA list.
The first events on the track were the 200-meter dashes. Senior Jordan Carlson had another impressive run, winning her heat in 24.60 seconds, a new personal-best which puts the 400m school record-holder now third overall on the 200m top-10 list as well. Sophomores Haley Jacobson and Gianna Woodruff also ran personal bests, with Jacobson going 25.20 and Woodruff running 25.26.
Freshman Quadelle Satterwhite impressed again as he lowered his 200-meter PR to 21.79 seconds, which was the No. 2 time overall out of more than 40 competitors. Junior Matt Anthony was seventh overall, running a personal-best time of 22.15 seconds.
Action in the Dempsey resumes at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning, with the invitational heats set for 3:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Taiwo picks up his heptathlon at 8 a.m. Pacific time as well.