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Friday, March 12, 2010 - 11:42pm
EL PASO – Blessing Okagbare reached the ultimate feat in college athletics claiming the long jump crown at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
Okagbare leaped to a distance of 6.87m (22-6.50) improving from 6.48m (21-3.25) in her first and 6.84m (22-5.25) second jumps to set a new NCAA meet standard. The record, 6.81m (22-4.25), was set by Auburn’s Elva Goulbourne in 2002. The All-American passed on the fourth and fifth attempts before finishing the night with a 6.57m (21-6.75) in her final try.
“It’s a tremendous feat to watch an athlete have a performance like that,” head coach Bob Kitchens said from the University of Arkansas. “This is great a great accomplishment for our program as well as for her.”
The Sapele, Nigeria, native becomes the 12th woman in UTEP history to win an indoor championship and the first since Svetlana Badrankova took the gold in the 800-meter run in 2001.
Okagbare will have a second chance at a national crown tomorrow when she takes the track at 6:25 p.m. (MT) in the women’s 60-meter dash. She qualified for the final with a 7.24 in the preliminaries earlier Friday afternoon. The senior’s personal best is 7.18 recorded at the Conference-USA Indoor Championships on Feb. 27.