Damar Forbes king of long jump

Forbes relishes long jump title

Associated Press photo by BRUCE ELYLSU's Damar Forbes reacts after winning the long jump during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday.
Associated Press photo by BRUCE ELYLSU's Damar Forbes reacts after winning the long jump during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday.

EUGENE, Ore. — When the LSU track and field teams arrived at Hayward Field for their first workout for the NCAA championships earlier this week, senior long jumper Damar Forbes was taken to a familiar place.

LSU jumps coach Todd Lane brought Forbes back to the spot where he completed his first NCAA outdoor meet as a freshman in 2010 — the grassy area behind the long jump pit — after jumping 24 feet, 71/4 inches for 14th place.

“Damar didn’t do that well, and after his third attempt he just laid in the grass,” Lane said Thursday night. “He was upset and devastated, but I told him, ‘You’ll be back.’

Forbes came back Thursday, just as Lane promised, and won his first NCAA title in the final collegiate meet of his career with a leap of 27-43/4. It came after four runner-up finishes at nationals.

“It’s like he came full circle,” Lane said of Forbes, who won the Southeastern Conference title in May after finishing second four times. “I’m just happy for him. I don’t know anyone that’s more deserving than him.

“You can only be a bridesmaid so many times. I’ll take that anytime at the NCAA meet, but I’m sure it feels good to be the prom king for once.”

Broken records

After watching Clemson’s Brianna Rollins set a collegiate record in the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.47 seconds Thursday, the Hayward Field crowd was treated to another one Friday.

In the first running event of the day, the 400-meter hurdles final, Stanford’s Kori Carter matched Rollins’ feat when she took the title in 53.21 seconds. That broke the mark of 53.54 set in 2004 by UCLA’s Sheena Johnson.

Surprise guest

No one expected LSU freshman Fitzroy Dunkley to be at the NCAA championships after he tied for 94th in the country in the triple jump this spring with a best of 49-81/4, which he achieved at the SEC championships.

But Dunkley, who went into the NCAA East preliminary rounds ranked 47th out of 48 competitors, shocked everyone with a third-place finish there when he cranked out a leap of 51-5.

After getting into the prelims by just 11/4 inches, Dunkley will get to see if he can do it again among the other 23 athletes who advanced to this meet Saturday.

Louisiana connection

Georgia’s Morgann Leleux, a New Iberia native who was the runner-up at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets as a freshman in 2012, tied for 13th in the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 13-71/4.

Leleux also didn’t score at the NCAA indoor nationals in March after having surgery in late January to repair a detached retina.

Tulane’s Merrit Van Meter cleared only one bar in the pole vault at 12-91/2, then missed three times at 13-31/2 to bow out of the competition.

Lagniappe

ESPNU will televise portions of the meet’s final day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. … Indiana’s Derek Drouin had three attempts at a collegiate record of 7-10 in the high jump Friday, but missed each time. That would have broken the mark of 7-93/4 set by Louisiana-Lafayette’s Hollis Conway back in 1989. … Arizona high jumper Brigetta Barrett, the silver medalist for the USA at the London Olympic Games last summer, sang the national anthem before the start of competition Friday.

Barrett will go for her third consecutive women’s high jump title Saturday.