Nicholas Gordon edges Eric Babb
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Nicholas Gordon edged Eric Babb to win the invitational long jump at the Kansas Relays on Thursday night.
Gordon and Babb tied each other with their longest jumps, each measuring 25 feet, 2½ inches, but Gordon won the tiebreaker with a second-longest jump of 25 feet.
Babb had his best distance in the first round and led the field of six jumpers through the next four rounds, but Gordon matched it on his sixth and final attempt.
"Coach [Gary] Pepin always says it's never over until it's over, so I go until the very last jump," Gordon, a senior at Nebraska, said. "I didn't know that I won until they announced that I'd won. I was just trying to jump as far as I could, and luckily that won."
The competition took place on a temporary track and sand pit set up on a street in downtown Lawrence, similar to the venue for the invitational shot put on Wednesday.
"It's definitely a different experience," Gordon said. "It was really fun to start a clap and everyone's cheering. A lot of these people have probably never seen a long jump before so it was fun to bring the sport to some people who had never seen it before."
Jarod Tolbert finished third with a distance of 24 feet, 11 inches.
Gordon, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, said he may compete in the men's shot put with the rest of the collegiate athletes on Saturday. Gordon was an All-American in the outdoor long jump in 2009 and 2010 and won the event in 2009.
"I'm still working very hard on a lot of things," he said. "Some of my flaws showed up today and my coach pointed out a few things, but I think I did some good things today."
Jumps were measured a little differently than usual as judges measured from the point of take off rather than from the foul line. The runway was also slightly shorter than usual. Babb, who won the men's long jump at the Kansas Relays in 2007 as a senior at Kansas, said the unique setup took a little adjustment, but was worth it for the atmosphere.
"Having everybody so closed in on both sides and everybody cheering for you -- it was great," he said. "I thought it went great for the first time doing it. I think it's only going to get better in the years to come."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press