BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Northwestern State's Jasmyn Steels flew to the front of the class Friday night, soaring to the NCAA Indoor long jump championship with a brilliant series of leaps at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
It's the fourth NCAA track and field championship for Northwestern State: the Demons' 1981 4x100 meter relay team (Victor Oattis, Joe Delaney, Mario Johnson, Mark Duper) running 39.32; Brian Brown's 7-8 leap to claim the 1990 men's indoor high jump; and a 196-6 throw by Trecey Rew in the 2011 women's discus.
Steels was seeded ninth among the 16 qualifiers with a 20-7 ¼ best. The junior from College Station, an Academic All-Southland competitor, hit the winning 21-2 ½ leap on her first attempt, and ultimately won it with her second-best jump (21-1 ¼) on her second of the six attempts for the nine finalists advancing out of the round of three preliminary jumps this evening. She had personal records on five of her six attempts.
Texas A&M's Deborah Acquah equaled the winning mark with a personal best 21-2 ½ on her fifth attempt, but her second-best mark of the competition was 20-0 ½, giving the advantage to Steels.
Florida's Yanis David was third at 21-1 ¼.
Steels' surprise completed a Louisiana sweep of the event. LSU's Rayvon Grey, also a junior, won the men's long jump title earlier Friday evening.