Despite not improving his PR, EMU's Jamel Howard (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) landed some important jumps at the Great Lakes Final Qualifying Meet Thursday in Delaware, Ohio.
Howard came within an inch of his best long jump distance, landing at 7.12m (23ft-4.5in). He easily had the top collegiate mark of the meet. Howard's best mark stands at 7.14m (23ft-5.25in), set this past Sunday at the VCU Ram Invitational.
He actually slid from No. 21 to No. 25 in the nation based on other results, tied with two other men. The top 20 marks qualify for next weekend's NCAA National Championships, meaning Howard and his coaches are left hoping a few other athletes decide to not declare or focus on other events.
"Now we'll play the waiting game," explained Coach Erick Camodeca. "Consistency was the victory today. Jamel did better his chances if it comes down to a tie-breaker, as his next best jump will be solid."
Howard also competed in the high jump on Wednesday, clearing 1.94m (6ft-4.25in). His best effort of 2.02m (6ft-7.5in) from the Paul Kaiser Classic on April 27 is No. 31 in the nation.
Overall, the junior, who also plays basketball at Eastern Mennonite, made huge improvements this year, tackling the long jump for the first time while consistently going two or three heights higher than what he did in the high jump last year.
"We are super excited about next year regardless of what happens with NCAAs," Camodeca said.
Senior Grant Amoateng (Bristow, Va./Patriot) did not participate in the Great Lakes Final Qualifying Meet, but still sits No. 7 in the triple jump. He looks like a lock for the NCAA field to be released this weekend, as does high jumper Michaela Chowning (Urbanna, Va./Middlesex). The freshman is No. 10 at 1.69m (5ft-6.5in).