LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison went where no other NCAA track athlete has been.
For the second time in his collegiate career Harrison pulled off a rare double national championship, this time during the NCAA indoor championships Friday at Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
Within a two-hour span, Harrison captured national titles in both the high jump and long jump, leading LSU to a share of first place with 20 points going into the final day of competition Saturday.
The Tigers, after 7 of 17 events, are tied for the team lead along with Georgia followed by Florida State (17) and USC (16).
LSU’s women, propelled by Lisa Gunnarsson becoming the Tigers’ first NCAA pole vault champion in school history, are tied for second with Georgia in the women’s division. Texas A&M leads with 26 points.
Harrison first achieved the feat of winning a double national championship during the 2019 outdoor season, claiming the high jump and long jump.
According to a Tweet from World Athletics – the governing body of track and field – Harrison became the first athlete in world history to enjoy such a one-day sweep of the high jump and long jump. No athlete ever put together such a combination of jumping 7 feet 6 ½ inches in the high jump and 27-8 ¾ in long jump.
“It makes me feel great,” said Harrison, who became the first athlete in the 56-year history of the NCAA indoor meet to sweep those two events. “I just want to push the marks out further. I beat somebody and now everybody’s going to be gunning for me who does high jump and long jump. I just need to push the marks out to really show them that I’m the greatest.”
Harrison’s effort in the jump was his personal best, surpassing his previous indoor mark of 7-5 ¾, to eclipse USC’s Earnie Sears (7-4 ¼) and Kansas State’s Tejaswin Shankar (7-4 ¼).
“Technically-speaking it wasn’t my best competition,” Harrison said. “I did a lot of things wrong early on, but I was able to get myself over the bar. Near the last two or three jumps I was finally able to put everything together.”
Harrison found himself having dig down deep to win the long jump event in which he was in fourth place after four rounds of competition.
His winning mark of 27-8 ¾ came in the fifth round and ranks as the third-best effort in U.S. history and eighth longest in world indoor history.
LSU, which has six scoring opportunities, qualified five athletes for Saturday’s finals with Damion Thomas (7.56) and Eric Edwards (7.70) in the 60-meter hurdles, Noah Williams (45.34) in the 400 and Terrance Laird (20.49) in the 200.
Gunnarsson’s pole vault win avenged her third-place showing two weeks ago in the SEC Championships.
The native of Paris, France won the event after clearing 14-7 ½ and when her two other competitors bowed out at that height, the nation’s leader in the pole vault moved the bar to 14-11 ½ which she cleared for new PR, becoming the eighth-best performer in collegiate history.
LSU’s women also picked up six points from high jumpers Abby O’Donoghue (4th, 6 ½) and Nyagoa Bayak (6th, 6 ½) and five more from Aliyah Whisby (21-10 ¼) with a fourth in the long jump.
The Tigers also advanced three competitors into Saturday’s final round with Milan Young in the 60-meter hurdles, Amber Anning in the 400 and Favour Ofilli in the 200.