Tyra Gittens wins heptathlon gold, high jump bronze on final day of NCAA Outdoor Championships

By June 13, 2021
Tyra Gittens won heptathlon gold, long jump silver and high jump bronze over three days at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships Tyra Gittens won heptathlon gold, long jump silver and high jump bronze over three days at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships Texas A&M

Six days after her 23rd birthday, Tyra Gittens gifted herself the heptathlon title on what was for her a bittersweet final day of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

In what she described as the hardest meet of her life, the Texas A&M junior topped the heptathlon high jump (1.84m), long jump (6.64) and 200m (23.79) on the way to her second-best score of 6285 points that was more than enough for victory but 135 points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420.

It was, however, 218 more of the University of Miami’s Michelle Atherley. The Miami senior, who was the fastest in the 100m hurdles (13.15), scored 6067 points for the silver medal. University of Texas freshman Kristine Blazevica scored 5984 points for the bronze medal.

Putting it simply, after three days of gruelling competition, Gittens just ran out of gas. She literally fell across the finish line to complete the heptathlon 800m in which she was 19th overall, scoring 707 points for her time of 2:28.88.

Her legs were sapped because after the long jump on Thursday in which she won a silver medal, Gittens then had four events in the heptathlon on Friday before completing the other three on Saturday even while contending for individual honours in the high jump.

She just managed to complete the high jump 10 minutes before competing in the heptathlon 800m, her final event of the meet.

The athlete, who has a season-best of 1.95m was only able to clear 1.87m, good enough for third place behind A&M teammate, Jamaica’s Lamara Distin, who cleared a personal best 1.90m to win the silver medal. The gold medal went to South Carolina freshman, Rachel Glenn, who cleared a personal-best 1.93m.

Gittens just missed out on long-jump gold on Thursday when she soared out to 6.68m, two centimetres shy of the winning mark of 6.70m by Texas sophomore Tara Davis.

 Jasmine Moore of Georgia jumped 6.65m for the bronze medal.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Last season's disappointment fuels a stronger and healthier, Rasheed Broadbell Last season's disappointment fuels a stronger and healthier, Rasheed Broadbell

    In mid-May 2021 Rasheed Broadbell was flying high.

  • 'I've done it before and can do it again' -  Blake hasn't given up hope on returning to top of men's sprinting 'I've done it before and can do it again' - Blake hasn't given up hope on returning to top of men's sprinting

    Former 100m World Champion and world’s second-fastest man Yohan Blake has not quite given up on the idea of returning to dominate sprinting, despite an underwhelming performance at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

    The 32-year-old Blake was once considered the heir apparent to celebrated compatriot Usain Bolt.  In fact, it is Blake that still holds the second-fastest times over both the 100 and 200m sprints.  Devasting injuries, which happened to the sprinter in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, however, largely curtailed that promise and left the sprinter unable to step into the void.  In a barren stretch of results, Blake has gone without a medal since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

    Since the 2012 Olympics, the athlete has finished outside of the medals at the last four major championships and failed to make the final at the last two. 

    Despite the lack of success in recent seasons, however, Blake is feeling confident of a late-career revival this season, on the back of a decent showing at the Birmingham Diamond League last week.  The Jamaican finished second in the men's 100m, clocking 10.18 behind Canadian Aaron Brown who took top spot in 10.13.

    “I think I took it too easy at the end and didn't see the guy in lane 8. I was focused forward. It was challenging because it was cold. The two false starts were tough but I am used to dealing with these things. I am feeling good after coming back. I want to stay hard to beat and move from being second fastest in the world to be fastest,” Blake said following the race.

    “I have been here before and I am used to the pressure. I am looking forward to the trials and getting back to my best and challenging the American top sprinters. I have done it before and can do it again.”

  • Timing very important to Thompson-Herah's success at World Championships this summer Timing very important to Thompson-Herah's success at World Championships this summer

    Though pleased with her ‘workout' at the National Stadium in Kingston last Saturday, Derron Herah, coach and husband of Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah believes the next six weeks of preparation will be crucial.

     This is especially true if she is to realize her goal of winning her first World Championship title this summer.

    The triple-gold medallist at last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, ran a smart 10.94s to win the 100m dash running into a headwind of -1.8m/s and then less than an hour later clocked a decent 22.55 to complete the double.

    “Her performance is good,” her proud husband told Sportsmax.TV after the 100m final where had there been no headwind, Thompson-Herah’s time would have been 10.81.

    “Today (Saturday) was mainly a training run; didn’t know she was going to run this fast. She was not necessarily pressing the gas, just basically the first 30 and trying to maintain and maintaining brought her 10.94, so we are right there. We just need to lighten up because we’re still heavy. So when the time is right we will lighten up and then go when we need to go.”

    Lightening up, as Herah puts it, involves getting Thompson-Herah to approach her peak at the National Championships from June 23-26 but be at her best at the 2022 World Championships that begin in Eugene, Oregon on July 15, just over two weeks later.

    He explained that with the two championships so close to each other, everything comes down to timing.

    “The timing is very important. After the National Championships, we have two weeks before World Championships, so we almost have to peak in the championships and maintain that into the World Championships. We have to be very careful and very and very selective with races and how we approach races,” he said of Thompson-Herah’s preparation.

    “What we are trying to do is getting her to peak for Oregon, not necessarily the trials. We will have to be in some kind of shape to indicate what we are going to do in Oregon so we have to be on that cycle now, six-seven weeks out, so by the time trials come around then we would have to be in similar shape as to what we would be in Oregon.”

    The delicate nature of this phase is partly why they decided against flying to Birmingham, England last week for the Diamond League meeting after Thompson-Herah suffered some discomfort during training.

    Herah explained.

    “Even our decision to not go to Birmingham, we had everything in mind because we knew what the weather was going to be like and she was feeling some type of soreness. It’s not like we would go and then not run,” he said.

    “We decided on the day not to go and as the week went along she started to feel a little better so I decided we would come out here today (Saturday) because we would have had a training session today anyway, so we got in two competitive runs but what we saw today was good enough.”

    Thompson-Herah is down to compete at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, May 28. She lines up against some of the fastest women in the world including Dina Asher-Smith, World 60m champion, Mujinga Kambundji, Olympic gold medallist Briana Williams, Shericka Jackson, Marie Jose Ta Lou and Twanisha Terry.

     

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.