CLAREMONT, Calif. – An inch separated Gallaudet University junior Darius Flowers (Birmingham, Ala.) from becoming a two-time All-American as he finished ninth overall in the triple jump Saturday at the 2012 NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Flowers made six jumps during the competition and cleared 14.29 meters or more on every jump and did not commit a foul. He saved his best jump for last when he landed at 14.80 meters (48 feet, 6.75 inches). Flowers finished sixth overall at last year’s national championship meet as he earned All-American honors, the top eight finishers of each event earns that recognition.
Junior Josh Lynch from Heidelberg edged Flowers for eighth place when he jumped 14.82 meters (48 feet, 7.50 inches) on his third attempt.
Defending national champion Isaac Vazquez from Wisconsin-La Crosse finished second with a jump of 15.47 meters (50 feet, 9.25 inches). Freshman Mike Sandle from Wisconsin-River Falls hit 15.60 meters (51 feet, 2.25 inches) on his second jump to set the bar and eventually held on to become this year’s champion.
Vazquez, La Verne’s Paul Turner (second last year, third this year), Wesleyan’s Tommie Lark (eighth last year, fifth this year), Cal Lutheran’s Eric Rogers (third last year, sixth this year) and Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Marcus Smith (seventh last year, seventh this year) earned All-American honors for a second year in a row.
Flowers will prepare for next year’s track and field season as a senior with the goal of returning to a third straight NCAA national championship meet.