EUGENE, Oregon – Lipscomb’s Phillip Smith competed against the nation’s best triple jumpers under 20 at the USA Track and Field Junior National Championships Sunday afternoon.
"Jumping at Hayward Field is a dream come true for me,” Smith said. “The best of the best come to compete here and to say that I was a part of that is amazing.
“No other track and field experience of mine has amounted to performing at Tracktown USA."
The participants battled for a spot on the American team at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships later in July.
"Phillip came out and made the most of this opportunity today here in Eugene,” said Luke Syverson, assistant track and field coach. “I'm proud of the way he competed.”
Smith landed a 14.61-meter jump on his first attempt placing him sixth at the conclusion of the first round.
Smith fouled his second attempt, but wrapped up the preliminaries with a solid performance.
“He was in ninth place going into his last attempt in preliminaries with only the top eight making finals,” Syverson said. “He was able to get the crowd behind him with the infamous Hayward Clap and pulled out his best jump of 15.19 meters.”
Smith’s 15.19-meter leap earned him a new personal record as well as a spot in the finals.
“He had several strong jumps in finals but wasn't able to improve his 15.19-meter jump from preliminaries,” Syverson said. “It is just off our school record of 15.30 meters.
“He had a couple of non-legal jumps that were over 50 feet, but I'm excited for his future."
Smith finished out the day with a 14.71-meter jump in the fifth round and a 14.78-meter jump in the sixth round placing seventh overall.
As a freshman, Smith has already bypassed his high school numbers and shows no signs of slowing down.
“Phillip came to Lipscomb with a high school personal record of about 46 feet so going nearly 50 feet his freshman year is huge,” Syverson said. “He is looking forward to next year.
"This was a great opportunity for him to compete in this environment and at the site of future NCAA championships. It will only make him a better competitor and make our program stronger."