March 14, 2009
College Station, TX – Two-sport standout Jacoby Ford earned his first national championship in track & field on Saturday, claiming the 60m dash to lead Clemson on the final day of competition. His crown is Clemson’s second in the event in the last three years, as former teammate Travis Padgett won the NCAA title in 2007. Ford is the ninth individual NCAA indoor champion in men’s track & field history at Clemson.
“We’ve had him ready to run a faster time for a while now,” said Lawrence Johnson, Clemson’s head coach. “He could have run faster, but he got excited and jumped up early in the race, so that slowed him a little bit. But he wanted to be the fastest football player on the planet and he’s achieved that. His victory is certainly going to open doors for us as we continue to recruit high-quality guys in the sprints.”
Ford got a solid start out of the blocks, and then sped past runner-up Trindon Holliday of LSU during the middle portion of the race. Ford’s time in the final was 6.52, one hundredth of a second shy of his preliminary time from Friday. Ford tied the national meet record with his 6.51 in Friday’s session.
Ford joins a prestigious group of sprinters from Clemson to have won an NCAA national championship. Michael Green won the 55m dash in consecutive years (1992-93), while James Trapp claimed the 200m crown in 1992 and Wesley Russell the 400m dash in 1993.
Shawn Crawford, arguably the most decorated track & field athlete in school history, won the 200m dash in 1998 and again in 2000. Ato Modibo won the 400m in 1999. Padgett’s victory in 2007 ended a stretch of six years without an NCAA indoor champion in the sprints for Clemson.
Ford now has three All-America honors in track to his credit, including a pair at the indoor national meet. He placed third in the 60m dash as a freshman in 2007. Ford was a top-five finisher last season in the 100m dash outdoors.
Patricia Mamona was the only other student-athlete to compete for Clemson on Saturday. The junior out of Lisbon, Portugal hit a mark of 42’2″ and finished 12th for the second straight NCAA indoor national meet in the triple jump.
The outdoor season begins next weekend for the Tiger track & field program. The teams are slated for the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, FL.
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