Saturday, January 7, 2017

It's early, but Dakarai Hightower puts American high jumpers on notice...

CRETE, Nebraska—It may only be the first Saturday of 2017, but Tacoma native and US Olympic Trials finalist Dakarai Hightower (above/photo courtesy Doane University Sports Information) put the American high jumpers on notice at the Ward Haylett Invitational, as he set a school record, jumping 7-4.25 (2.24m).

For a few hours at least, Hightower, who competed last year at Lane Community College in Eugene before moving on to Doane University, an NAIA school in Crete, Nebraska, held the overall collegiate lead, until freshman Clayton Brown of Florida topped the mark, jumping 7-4.5 (2.25m) at the Clemson Orange and Purple meet.

Hightower, who was ranked #7 in the country last year according to Track & Field News, opened with first attempt makes at 7-0.5 (2.15m) and 7-2.5 (2.20m), before clearing 7-4.25 (2.24m) on his third attempt.  He took three shots at tying his personal best of 7-5 (2.26m), which he set when he won the NWAAC community college title last spring.

Hightower’s mark is the best in NAIA, and the second best by a collegian so far this season. It’s also the second best in the world, not counting the two marks set by Ivan Ukhov (7-8.5/2.35m) and Dmitry Semenov (7-5.25/2.27m) of Russia, which is currently suspended by the IAAF as a result of doping sanctions against the Russian Federation.

According to a message from Hightower, he cleared the mark using a short approach.

Courtesy of Hightower's Instagram account, here's video of his 7-4.25 (2.24m) jump:

A video posted by Dakarai Hightower (@dhightower253) on

NOTE:  The sports information office of Doane University contributed to this report.

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