LA CROSSE, WIS. – For the second time in his collegiate career Gallaudet University senior Darius Flowers (Birmingham, Ala.) earned All-American honors as he finished in the top eight of today’s triple jump on the last day of competition at the 2013 NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships hosted by University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
The usual suspects gathered on Saturday afternoon as four seniors, including Flowers, competed in the men’s triple jump event for a third year in a row. Flowers’ best jump was 14.82 meters (48 feet, 7.50 inches) as he finished seventh overall. The top eight competitors in each event earn All-American recognition.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater senior Marcus Smith won the competition with a leap of 15.65 meters (51 feet, 4.25 inches) followed by the 2011 champion Isaac Vazquez from Wisconsin-La Crosse. Senior Paul Turner was sixth with a jump of 14.84 meters (48 feet, 8.25 inches).
“Darius wrapped up his jumping career just as he wanted, as an All-American. I am extremely proud of all he has accomplished,” said Gallaudet track and field coach Mikaela Hudson. “His four years as a GU track and field athlete have been filled with more than what any one person should endure and he has managed to stay on top. He is a great student-athlete and a great young man. He will continue to be a part of our program as he will be interning with track next spring, another opportunity for him to motivate and inspire.”
The seventh place showing was the second best finish for Flowers at the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships. He finished ninth overall last year in the triple jump, as he was less than an inch away from becoming an All-American. He placed sixth in the 2011 championships as a sophomore in the triple jump.
The two-time All-American clinched his top eight finish with a jump of 14.82 meters on his third attempt. Flowers surpassed 14 meters on four of his six jumps.
“This is a perfect time for me to end my collegiate track and field career as I accomplished my goal to finish in the top eight and earn All-American status,” said Flowers. “I have had a great experience, these past four years, with my teammates and coaches. I wouldn’t have made it to the NCAA championships, three years in a row, and a two-time All-American without being a student-athlete at Gallaudet University.”
Flowers competed in the long jump on Thursday night and placed 13th overall after just taking up the event a few months ago.
Flowers earned two team points for his finish in the triple jump as Gallaudet finished tied for 65th place in the team rankings. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the host school for the championships, won the national title with 66 points. Wisconsin Eau-Claire was second with 64 points and Wisconsin-Oshkosh was third with 51.50 points. A fourth Wisconsin school, Wisconsin-Whitewater, was fourth with 40 team points.
This was the last time for Flowers to wear a Gallaudet uniform as a student-athlete but he will still have a presence with the track and field program next year as an intern. Hudson explained the internship would give Flowers another opportunity to motivate and inspire the Bison track and field teams.
“I have learned, over the past four years, as a track and field student-athlete that I have become a very strong and determined person that can meet his goals if I put my mind to it,” said Flowers. “It was important for me to cooperate with my teammates and coaches to help the program become a success. Being a track and field student-athlete helped me focus better in the classroom and become a better student in school.”