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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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June 7th, 2019
Austin, Texas

With dusk temperatures still in the 90’s, 24 of the best collegiate high jumpers squared off on the griddle-hot jump apron for the men’s high jump final. Among the competitors was LSU sophomore JuVaughn Harrison who two days earlier had prevailed in a tight long jump battle, his winning jump of 8.20m/26’11” sealing the victory by an inch. Even before the competition got underway, Harrison sensed this could be a special day. “I knew early on during the warmups that it was going to be a very good meet,” confided the SEC high jump champion.

The finalists all looked sharp in the early going as no one was knocked out at the opening height of 2.10m/6’10¾”. As the fight for the podium raged on, a full 16 athletes remained alive as the bar went up to 2.21m/7’3” – including clean card performers Harrison and Georgia senior Keenon Laine. As the bar went up to 2.24/7’4¼, Harrison and Laine, still jumping without a miss, were joined only by Kansas State sophomore and defending champion Tejaswin Shankar, Alabama junior Shelby McEwen, and Southern Mississippi junior Eric Richards. All 5 were still jumping as the bar was raised to 2.27m/7’5¼”, but the only clearances made were by Harrison, with his 6th consecutive first-attempt clearance, and defending champion Shankar on his second attempt. When neither athlete could clear 2.30m/7’6½, Harrison had this rare jump double, with Shankar finishing 2nd and McEwen 3rd.

“It was a great competition. I was able to go out and clear all the bars,” declared the composed victor afterwards. “I was upset that I was unable to clear the final bar [2.30m/7’6½”] because that was my goal. But I am very happy that I was able to come out a winner.”

For the new champion, the jump double took on special meaning in light of his performance at last year’s championships. “It [the jump double] was very significant to me because last year I went out early in both events and then to finish 2nd indoors [in the HJ] and to not make it to finals indoors in the long jump was a great disappointment.”

For Harrison, who readily admits he loves the high jump more but believes he currently is better in the long jump, competing in both jumping events has long been in his plans. “I’ve always said I was going to do high and long jumps when I came to college,” reveals the LSU jump star. “And my school was able to let me do that.” Harrison knows he will face stiffer competition in the years ahead and one day may have to choose between the two field events he loves. “I’ve thought about it,” he admits. “But my goal is to be great in both and to not have to choose.” In this championship, JuVaughn Harrison undoubtedly was.

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