USF high jumper Romaine Beckford capped an undefeated season with a first-place performance Friday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, becoming the school’s first national champion in 30 years.
Beckford, a senior from Portland, Jamaica, set a program record with a winning jump of 7 feet, 5¼ inches. Oklahoma’s Vernon Turner also cleared the height but needed one more attempt than Beckford to clear the previous height, 7-4¼, then failed on his final try at 7-6½, making Beckford the winner.
Beckford joins distance runner Jon Dennis, who won the 5,000 meters in 1992 and 1993, as USF outdoor national champions.
Beckford, who also edged Turner for the NCAA indoor title this season (7 feet, 4¼ inches), won the 2021 junior college high jump national title at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. He’s the first American Athletic Conference athlete to win an NCAA outdoor high jump title.
Florida won its second straight outdoor national championship and fourth in seven seasons, overtaking Arkansas by winning the 4x400 relay, the night’s final event.
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