World-Class Long Jumps Highlight McCravy Day One

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sha’Keela Saunders thought she was going to have to trek through the snow to get to Nutter Field House on Friday. She found a ride and found her jumping shoes en route to defending her McCravy Memorial long jump title on Friday .

“Yeah, I thought I was going to have to hike here, but it’s pretty exciting because it’s like the White Christmas we didn’t get,” Saunders joked after the meet.

The world-leader (21' 6.25"/6.56 meters) entering this weekend, Saunders led from her first attempt on, but she waited for her sixth and final attempt to reach the No. 2 mark in the world this year: 21’5.25”/6.53m.

“It was a slow start,” Saunders said. “I started off 20’5” I was kind of flat. It wasn’t until the crowd got energized that I got energized a little bit and I was able to get a little more lift in my jumps and pop the big one.”

Saunders currently leads the NCAA in both the long jump and triple jump, but it’s early going.

The Buffalo Bills’ Marquise Goodwin, a 2012 Olympian and veteran of multiple more Team USA campaigns won the long jump with an American leading and world No. 2 mark of 26’2.75”/7.99m. His mark broke an 18-year-old meet record.

Olivia Gruver, who broke the UK school record in her debut in December, cleared a personal-best 13’8.25”/4.17m to place third. The mark ranks No. 9 nationally at time of publication.

Xaivier McCallister won the men’s high jump, clearing 7’0.25”/2.14m.

Through four events of the men’s heptathlon, Tim Duckworth and Ibn Short sit in second and third place respectively. Duckworth is on 3278 after PRing in the 60m hurdles, long jump and high jump, and Short is on 2985.

Kianna Gray placed second in the women’s 200m in a PR 23.47. 

Beckie Famurewa placed second in the weight throw with a mark of 66'1.5"/20.15m.

Victor Ini-Oluwa Oye ran a PR 21.61 for third in the 200m.

Fred Dorsey placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 24’6.25”/7.47m.

Tia Robinson placed third in the 600-yard run with a time of 1:24.67.

Kentucky’s men’s distance medley relay of Kendall Muhammad, Xavier Jones, Shane Dillon and Lou Styles ran 9:58.57 for third place.

Ryan Polman placed ninth in the McCravy 5k with a PR 14:51.58.

Georgia’s Tatiana Gusin cleared a McCravy Meet record 6’1.25”/1.86m, a mark that ranks tied for No. 3 nationally.

Accounting for professionals and unattached runners in addition to collegians, the field for the 2016 McCravy Memorial features five participants from  last year’s IAAF World Championships. Seven 2016 McCravy participants have qualified for past World Championships.

More broadly the field features 17 athletes that to-date have combined to win 30 NCAA titles. Accounting for All-America honors, the number nears triple digits.

Admission to Nutter Field House is free on both Friday and Saturday. 

The meet will be broadcast on SEC Network+ on Saturday beginning at Noon ET. The live broadcast, with legendary track and field announcer Dennis McNulty on the call, will feature highlights of some of the top events from Friday as well.

The men’s heptathlon will begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. Field events will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Running events begin at Noon.

Fans can park in the Green Lot outside Nutter Field House and Commonwealth Stadium for free on both days of the meet.

Participating Teams 
Baylor (No. 11 women)
Clemson (No. 22 women)
Florida (No. 1 men, No. 6 women)
Georgia (No. 6 men, No. 2 women)
Houston (No. 25 men)
Kentucky (No. 8 women)
Miami (No. 17 women)
Virginia (No. 18 men)