Friday, March 14, 2014

UAlbany's Bowen Places Seventh, All-American At Nationals

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – University at Albany junior Alexander Bowen placed seventh overall in the high jump on Friday at Day One of competition at NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Bowen jumped 7’-2.5”, matching his best mark of the year, which he had previously jumped twice. His first mark was recorded unofficially at UAlbany’s Intrasquad Scrimmage, the RAAC Classic, in early December. He matched the mark once again in the first meet of the season, at the Penn State Relays in early January. “I’m excited to get the job done, and I’m glad to have finished in the top eight,” Bowen said. “The facility was great. It was tight, and the crowd got loud and really pumped you up. And the limited amount of athletes, 16 instead of 24 at outdoor nationals, really made the event exciting.” By placing seventh, Bowen also earns All-America honors in his event, which is awarded to the top eight finishers in each event. This time, Bowen earned first team honors, while during last year’s outdoor campaign, Bowen earned second team honors by placing 11th at outdoor nationals. “I was a mess jumping,” Bowen said. “The track was fast, and it was bringing me too close to the bar. So I had to compensate by turning hard, sometimes too hard. But I had to do what I could to clear heights.” “Alex took a lot of jumps,” said assistant coach Todd Wolin, “and was giving me a heart attack. But he skied 7’, and skied 7’-2.5”. At 7’-3.75, he got off the ground well on his first and second attempts, but didn’t finish the jump. It’s something we’ll work on going forward.” “Today was the end of one chapter,” said Bowen. “Now I’ll start training for outdoor. But what I did today shows that I can compete with the best, that I am one of the best.” “He knows he can do great things,” said Wolin. “I’m proud of him.” For Bowen, the focus quickly shifts towards transitioning to the outdoor season, and adjusting for the differences that accompany jumping out in the elements. Bowen will official begin outdoor training next Tuesday, and will travel with the team to Puerto Rico for the Spring Break Classic. “Tuesday we go back to day one,” said Wolin. “Today he was turning a little too early, getting to the bar too soon to compensate for the speed. We knew the track was a little fast coming in, and the competition proved it was the fastest surface he’s ever been on. But going forward we’ll tinker with his approach, maybe widen him out a bit, so he can be consistent on any surface.” “Unlike last year, when we were going for a big jump at Puerto Rico, this time we’re training through, to prepare for Texas,” Wolin continued. “A lot of the guys Alex saw here will be competing at Texas, so that will be the place for him to try for a big jump. He only needs 6’-10” for outdoor prelims, but the ultimate goal for nationals is to hit the 7’-4.5” for USA nationals. So, we’ll train until Penn Relays, then we get into conferences, IC4A’s, and prelims and nationals.” Florida State’s James Harris won the event with a jump of 7’-7.25”, but took jumps at a new collegiate record. Arizona’s Nick Ross, who won in 2012, placed second, clearing 7’-6”. Mississippi State’s Marcus Jackson also cleared 7’-6” to take third place. Cornell’s Montez Blair placed fourth with a mark of 7’-3.75”, the height at which Bowen was eliminated. After the team returns from Puerto Rico, the team will almost immediately turn around for the Texas Relays or the Bobcat Invitational, both in Texas. The following week, April 5, the Danes will host their first of three home meets this season on their brand new track. America East Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Vermont from May 3 through May 4, and Princeton will again host IC4A’s from May 16 through May 18. NCAA Preliminary Championships run from May 29 through May 31 in Jacksonville, and Outdoor Championships will be at the University of Oregon from June 11 through June 14.

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