McPherson All Smiles as she Breaks NAU, Big Sky Long Jump Record

NAU's Shanice McPherson
NAU's Shanice McPherson

AUSTIN, Texas – On the final day of the 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by Spectrum, Northern Arizona's Shanice McPherson leapt her way into the record books with a 21-2 (6.45m) last-chance jump in the women's long jump event Saturday.

"Her attitude was great this afternoon," said NAU Jumps Coach Roderick Townsend. "She was a competitor, and she was able to her compose herself well against a great field of athletes who she will be seeing again at the regional championships in May."


McPherson, a two-time NCAA Division II National Champion in this event, already claims a tie for the indoor Big Sky record in the women's long jump but was determined to become the sole possessor of that outdoor title. In a field that featured the No. 6, 7, 12 and 23 ranked long jumpers in the nation, McPherson outlasted them all and finished second overall in the competition. 

As of right now, it is tough to determine where McPherson will rank nationally considering the weekend's results will not be fully updated until at least tomorrow. However, her 21-2 (6.45m) mark recorded today would slide into the top-five at this very second based on the current rankings.

"It's no surprise that she broke the record this early in the season," said Townsend. "We came to this meet expecting to compete at a level that wouldn't allow for anything less than such a performance. She still has a lot to clean up in her approach and her landing, so there is still more room for growth as the season progresses. Nonetheless, I'm extremely proud of her and her performance. [McPherson] is an amazing young woman, and she's a true example of what hard work and perseverance look like."

The only other Lumberjack competitors today included throwers Shawn Collins in the men's shot put and Julia Viberg in the women's discus. Collins' best throw on the day came in his second attempt where he mustered a 51-9 (15.77m) mark, good enough for a 10th place finish.  

For Viberg, she fouled on her first two attempts but was able to record a 164-8 (50.17m) toss on her third chance to extend herself into finals. However, she registered three more fouls in the finals. Despite all that, she was still able to finish seventh in her first competition representing NAU in nearly two years.

For those inquiring about a full slate of results from Texas Relays, you can find them here

The Lumberjacks compete next weekend at the Jim Click Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., hosted by the University of Arizona.