Barton’s Russell places fifth at nationals, becomes two-time indoor track All-American

Larry Russell soars through the air during the long jump competition at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday in Pittsburg, Kan. | Photo by Jackie Kirby
Larry Russell soars through the air during the long jump competition at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday in Pittsburg, Kan. | Photo by Jackie Kirby

by Benny Benton

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Barton College junior Larry Russell became a two-time indoor track All-American on Friday after recording a fifth-place finish in the long jump at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Russell adds All-America honors in that event to the one he earned last year at nationals in the high jump. He also gained All-America status outdoors last year in the long jump after placing third.

The Sicklerville, N.J., resident led the field of 17 on Friday after posting a mark of 7.59 meters, or 24 feet, 11 inches, during competition in his flight. He increased that mark by the slightest of margins to 7.60 meters on his second jump of the finals, but could not hold the top spot.

Lincoln (Mo.) University's Sedeekie Edie, the 2016 indoor and 2017 outdoor national champion in the long jump, saved his best effort for his sixth and final jump, a leap of 7.76 meters that earned him another national title.

Russell was originally posted as the fourth-place finisher, but it was later changed to fifth, leading to confusion on the podium.

Bjoern Klehn of Christian Brothers University was second at 7.70 meters, followed closely by Brian Huber of Minnesota State University Moorhead in third at 7.69. Michane Ricketts, representing the Academy of Art, was eventually credited with fourth place at 7.64, followed by Russell at 7.60. Issac Grimes of Chadron State College trailed Russell in sixth at 7.54.

Russell qualified for the national meet with an indoor school record leap of 7.63 meters at the Conference Carolinas Championship. He won both the long jump and high jump, placed third in the triple jump and came in fifth in the 60-meter hurdles to earn 30 points and the league's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year Award.

He ranked among the top five regionally in all three of the jumps, leading to his selection as Southeast Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Russell will look to quickly post a qualifying mark for the outdoor nationals when that season begins for Barton next weekend at the 49er Classic in Charlotte, N.C.