Gunnarsson Wins Pole Vault, Harrison Sweeps High Jump/Long Jump at NCAA Championships
Fayetteville, Ark. – JuVaughn Harrison and Lisa Gunnarsson had one eventful day for the LSU track and field program on Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Harrison captured NCAA titles in the high jump (7′ 6.50″/2.30 meters) and long jump (27’8.75″/8.45 meters) within a span of two hours, and Gunnarsson capped the night off with a NCAA title in the women’s pole vault with a final clearance of 14′ 11.50″ (4.56 meters).
After two days of competition, the LSU men are tied for the team lead with 20 points alongside Georgia, and the LSU women are tied for second with 23 points. The LSU men will have six scoring opportunities on Saturday, and the women are slotted with four scoring chances.
Harrison started his day in the high jump and won with a personal best clearance of 7′ 6.50″ (2.30 meters) to claim his third career national title. He then shifted over to the long jump in pursuit of national title No. 4. Harrison was in fourth place after the four rounds of the event until he unleashed an absolute massive personal best of 27′ 8.75″ (8.45 meters) in round five. That earned him the sweep of the high jump and long jump titles to make him the first man in NCAA indoor history to sweep the high jump and long jump national titles.
Harrison’s performance in the long jump made him the eighth-best long jump ever indoors, third in American history, and the third best collegiate performer in history. It’s also an LSU school record, Randal Tyson Track Center facility record, and the second best mark in NCAA meet history. You can read more about JuVaughn’s historic day at lsusports.net. Harrison’s win in the long jump makes it back-to-back wins for LSU in the event at the NCAA indoor meet; Rayvon Grey won in it 2019, and then last year there was no NCAA Championship meet indoors.
Gunnarsson is the first woman in LSU history to win an NCAA indoor pole vault title and she battled through adversity to get the win. It wasn’t a clean night by any means, but she cleared a total of six bars in the process and became the eighth-best performer in collegiate history en route to the title. She cleared bars of 4.16 meters, 4.26 meters, 4.36 meters, and 4.41 meters to be one of three competitors remaining. Gunnarsson cleared 14′ 7.50″ (4.46 meters) on her first try at the height and the other two competitors failed clear the bar making her the national champ. She wasn’t done just yet though. Gunnarsson moved the bar to a height of 14′ 11.50″ (4.56 meters) with the title already in her grasp and upped her own school record in the process with the clearance. It was an indoor personal best for the senior from Paris, France. The clearance of 14′ 11.50″ makes her the eighth best performer in collegiate history.
LSU also got points from Abigail O’Donoghue (high jump), Nyagoa Bayak (high jump), and Aliyah Whisby (long jump). Whisby registered a personal best of 21′ 10.25″ (6.66 meters) on her sixth and final attempt of the evening to place fourth overall; it’s her best ever NCAA finish. The leap of 21′ 10.25″ goes down as the third best mark in LSU history. O’Donoghue and Bayak both cleared matching heights of 6′ 0.50″ (1.84 meters) to take fourth and sixth, respectively. It was a personal best for Bayak and it makes her the sixth best high jumper in LSU history.
The rest of the day featured qualifying for LSU. On the men’s side, Damion Thomas (7.56/60m hurdles), Eric Edwards Jr. (7.70/60m hurdles), Noah Williams (45.34/400 meters), Terrance Laird (20.49/200 meters), Milan Young (8.06/60 meter hurdles), Amber Anning (52.03/400 meters), and Favour Ofili (23.18/200 meters) all qualified for Saturday’s finals; start times listed below. There were a couple notable PRs out of that group; Thomas’ time of 7.56 made him the second fastest hurdler in LSU history, and Anning’s time of 52.03 in the 400 meters made her the third fastest in LSU history.
Davis Bove ran the second sub-four minute mile of his career on Friday with a time of 3:58.40 and it earned him a 12th place finish overall in his NCAA debut. Freshman Sean ‘Squirrel’ Burrell notched a 10th-place finish in the 400 meter dash with a readout of 46.06 in his NCAA debut as well. Burrell is scheduled to run on LSU’s 4×400 meter relay Saturday.
Saturday Finalists | All times in CST
Sean Dixon-Bodie – Triple Jump – 1 p.m.
Noah Williams – 400 Meters – 2:20 p.m.
Damion Thomas – 60m Hurdles – 2:30 p.m.
Eric Edwards Jr. – 60m Hurdles – 2:30 p.m.
Terrance Laird – 200 Meters – 2:50 p.m.
Men’s 4x400m Relay – 3:20 p.m.
Amber Anning – 400 Meters – 6:20 p.m.
Milan Young – 60m Hurdles – 6:30 p.m.
Favour Ofili – 200 Meters – 6:50 p.m.
Women’s 4x400m Relay – 7:20 p.m.