(Neb.)- Simpson, Grimes Have Similar Marks At USA Championships
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two all-time great long jumpers at Chadron State College finished three-fourths of an inch apart while competing against one another last week during the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines.
Damarcus Simpson, the Georgia native who competed for the Eagles in 2015 and 2016, went 7.87 meters, or 25 feet, 10 inches, while placing eighth in the elite competition. Isaac Grimes, the Californian who was in the limelight for CSC the past two seasons, jumped 7.85 meters, or 25-9 ¾, while finishing ninth.
Simpson made the finals, but Grimes did not. Both of their best jumps came during their third jump in the preliminaries.
The long jump winner was Ja'Mari Ward, a sophomore at the University of Missouri, who hit 8.12 meters, or 26-7 ¾. Second place went to Will Claye, who is 28 years old and concluded his collegiate career at the University of Florida, at 26-5 ½.
Both Trumaine Jefferson, a senior this year at the University of Houston, and Jarvis Gotch, who concluded his outdoor eligibility at Louisiana Tech in 2015, shared the third best jumps of 26-3 ¾, but Jefferson got the bronze medal because his next best mark was three-fourth of an inch longer than Gotch's.
Fifth place went to Jeff Henderson at 26-3. He jumped 28-2 ¼, while winning the USA Olympic Trials in 2016 and a couple months later won the gold medal by a centimeter at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro by going 27-6 on his final jump.
While wearing Chadron State uniforms, both Simpson and Grimes had jumps from eight to 10 inches longer than their best marks Sunday night. Simpson has the CSC outdoor record of 26-7 ¾, set in 2016 at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., where he finished eighth.
Prior to that, Simpson had the CSC record of 26-4 ½, his winning mark at the NCAA II National Championships in 2016.
Grimes's all-time best of 26-6 ¼ earned him the silver medal at this year's NCAA Division II National Outdoor Championships at Kingsville, Texas.
Grimes holds the Eagles' indoor long jump record of 26-1. It came at the opening meet this past season at the Colorado School of Mines. He went on to win the gold medal at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships by hitting 25-8 ¾ at Pittsburg, Kan.
Simpson has the Eagles' second best indoor mark of 25-11. It was at the 2016 national meet, where he was the silver medalist.
While attending Chadron State, Simpson finished second in the long jump at the national indoor meet both years and won the outdoor championships both years. He then transferred to the University of Oregon, where he continued to excel not only in the long jump but also in the sprints.
While competing for the Ducks, Simpson had a wind-aided mark of 26-7 ¾, the best long jump in Oregon's history. He graduated in May 2018.
Grimes, who was bothered by hamstring problems during his two years at CSC, nonetheless placed sixth in the long jump indoors and fifth outdoors at the national meets as a freshman in 2017. This past year, he won the long jump and was second in the triple jump at the national indoor meet and was the runner-up in the long jump at the outdoor championships.
He holds both of the Eagles' triple jump records. They are 51-8 ½ indoors and 49-8 ½ outdoors.
At the end of the 2019 season, Grimes transferred to Florida State. He has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.
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