FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two Red Raider medaled Saturday in what was the final day of the NCAA Indoor Championships.
If anything can be learned from Ruth Usoro’s 2021 season, it’s this: never count her out. Twice this year, Usoro has been down to her final jump – with hardware on the line – and come back to win. After doing so with the second-farthest triple jump in NCAA history to clinch the Big 12 title, she did the same thing Saturday night to win her first national championship. Usoro, the collegiate leader coming into the event, found herself in a battle with Texas A&M’s Deborah Acquah and Florida State’s Ruta Lamane, who had both cleared 46 feet as well. Usoro marked 46 feet on her fifth attempt, landing one at 46’-7.5” (14.21m). That jump put her ahead of Lasmane, but she would need another three inches to top Acquah. With her final leap, she tied Acquah’s top mark with a white-flag distance of 46’-10” (14.27m). With the tie going to the second-best jump, Usoro would capture the title.
Running in his first NCAA Championship title race, Takieddine Hedeilli earned the bronze in a fast and physical final heat. Hedeilli came out leading after one lap, then settled into second of a jammed front pack. The sprint in the last lap saw Hedeilli fighting with the Oregon’s Charlie Hunter and Miami University’s Finley Mclear. Hunter would come from behind to take the title for the eventual title-winning Ducks. Hedeilli’s time came to 1:46.84 – the third-fastest in school history.
Jalen Seals, in his first trip to a national title meet, became an All-American a second time. Like Friday night’s long jump competition, Seals would need a lifetime best to score in the triple jump. Saturday, he achieved the former but finished 10th. His distance of 52’-8.25” (16.06m) marks the first time he has ever cleared 16 meters in the triple.
Release / Photo Provided By Texas Tech Athletics