Former Edwardsville High School and current Southern Illinois University Edwardsville standout Julian Harvey saved his best effort of the season in long jump for just the right time on Friday at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
Competing in the national finals for the first time, Harvey jumped 23 feet, 11 3/4 inches as he placed 13th in the long jump finals which were held late Friday afternoon. Jarrion Lawson of the University of Arkansas won the event with a leap of 26 feet, 1 inch.
“Julian got some valuable experience today,” said Interim head coach Scott Block. “He competed against some of the best long jumpers in the country and held his own. His indoor season has been one of the most successful I’ve ever seen and I am looking forward to what he is capable of outside.”
Harvey qualified for the long jump after winning the Ohio Valley Conference with an SIUE record-breaking mark of 25 feet, 10.75 inches.
Although the jump earned Harvey recognition, it wasn’t his best indoor jump.
Harvey, who was all-state in both the high jump and triple jump, is a two-time Ohio Valley Conference champion in the high jump and owns the SIUE school record in the event with a leap of 6 feet, 11 3/4 inches.
Despite the numerous accomplishments during the indoor season, Harvey says he didn’t set out to achieve any specific goal.
“I haven’t been setting goals as far as lengths or places at meets,” said Harvey. “I’ve been jumping and enjoying myself and this happened to be the result. I’m happy I can be here.”
Harvey also set the SIUE record in the triple jump this season. His two records were both set by former teammate La’Derrick Ward a season ago. While Harvey has moved ahead of Ward in the record books, he says the two remain close.
“When I broke the triple jump record, he told me to go get his other one,” said Harvey. “He’s definitely supportive of everything I’m doing and we’re still good friends.”
Amidst all of his accomplishments, Harvey said he remains grateful for the tutelage of his first-year jumps coach Joey Pacione.
“I’m thankful for Coach Pacione and everything he’s done,” said Harvey. “Most of what has happened is a by-product of his coaching and I’m grateful for his guidance.”
The meet was hosted by Samford and held in the Birmingham CrossPlex.