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Ward Places Sixth at NCAA Nationals

La'Derrick Ward (black jacket) stands on the podium after placing sixth in the men's long jump at NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.
La'Derrick Ward (black jacket) stands on the podium after placing sixth in the men's long jump at NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Junior La'Derrick Ward made history Friday night, placing sixth in the men's long jump at NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

"La'Derrick performed outstanding," Interim Head Coach Eileen McAllister said.  "He was poised, he competed very well, and he looked like he was in his element.  He was there to compete and get the job done."

The native of Alorton, Ill., took sixth in the long jump with a mark of 25 feet, 5.25 inches (7.75m).  The mark was a new school record for Ward, who broke his previous record of 25-3.5.

Ward finished ten spots higher than he was project, having entered the event seeded 16th in the 16-man field.

Ward is now the first two-time Division I All-American in school history after competing at NCAA Outdoor National Championships last season.

"La'Derrick was much more composed than last year (at nationals)," McAllister added.  "He's a seasoned veteran now.  He is definitely putting SIUE on the map and making history."

Arkansas' Jarrion Lawson won the event with a leap of 27-6.5, while Rutgers' Corey Crawford placed second at 26-3.5. 

SIUE will be represented again on Saturday during the second and final day of competition at NCAA National Championships.

Jatavia Wright will compete in the women's triple jump, scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

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