Texas phenom Tara Davis sweeps NCAA's long jump championships
On Thursday evening, Tara Davis cemented her status as the NCAA's top long jumper.
The Texas junior won the long jump at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. with a jump of 21 feet, 11 3/4 inches on her fifth attempt. The leap edged Texas A&M's Tyra Gittens' of 21 feet, 11 inches.
"I just had to dig deep and just try to get all my energy. I was losing energy," Davis told reporters. "I was like, come on Tara, this is your moment, this is your last NCAA. Yes, you're going to be sad if they win — and if they do win, congrats — but I just really wanted to come out to a win today, it didn't matter what it took to jump. I really wanted to win and I pulled it off by two centimeters."
It was Davis' second NCAA title this year. In March, she took home the NCAA indoor title in the long jump. Over the past few months, she has set both the collegiate indoor (22-9) and outdoor (23-5 1/4) records for the event.
Thursday also gave Davis the chance to jump at the new-look stadium in Eugene that will host the U.S. Olympic Trials from June 18-27; venerable Hayward Field recently went through a two-year facelift, and Davis said she was glad to have gotten a competition in there before the Trials.
"I'm very lucky to have come and test the waters, basically," she said. "Not many athletes are able to test the new stadium and be in the new arena. I'm just lucky to have gotten the first look, the first take on the new long jump pit."
Davis is the first Longhorn to win an outdoor title in the long jump. She also joins an exclusive club of 12 other UT athletes who have won indoor and outdoor championships in the same event during the same year.
- 1986: James Lott, high jump
- 1991: Carlette Guidry, 200 meters
- 1994: Eileen Vanisi, shot put
- 1998: Suziann Reid, 400 meters
- 1998: Erin Aldrich, high jump
- 1999: Suziann Reid, 400 meters
- 1999: Jacob Davis, pole vault
- 1999: Mark Boswell, high jump
- 2000: Mark Boswell, high jump
- 2004: Andra Manson, high jump
- 2009: Destinee Hooker, high jump
- 2014: Ryan Crouser, shot put
- 2016: Courtney Okolo, 400 meters
- 2021: Tara Davis, long jump
Will Davis defend her titles in 2022? She has eligibility left, but seemingly posted a goodbye message on her Instagram account following her big win. Alongside three photos from Thursday's action, she wrote "Thank you Texas, Tara Davis out" as a caption.
Davis graduated last month. She also mentioned to reporters that Thursday night was her last college meet: "This is my last NCAAs. That is so sad."
Turning pro would allow her to cash in on the large following that she has developed on multiple social media platforms. Next up, though, will be the Olympic Trials.
Also on Thursday, Texas placed four entries into Saturday's finals — Kevona Davis in the 200-meter dash, Stacey Ann Williams in the 400-meter dash and the 400-meter relay (Chanel Brissett, Kevona Davis, Rhasidat Adeleke and Kynnedy Flannel) and 1,600-meter relay (Serenity Douglas, Kennedy Simon, Brooke Jaworski and Williams).
Men's events were scheduled for Friday.