McMonigle jumps to second-place NCAA finish
Junior is national runner-up with 6-9 3/4 effort
March 11, 2011
Braden McMonigle clears 6-9.75 to earn a second-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. McMonigle (below left) makes his second career appearance on the NCAA All-America podium. (John Swartzel photos)
BEXLEY — Braden McMonigle has developed the reputation of being a big-meet jumper. On Friday, the Wilmington College junior lived up to his billing with a second-place finish in the high jump at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at Capital University.
McMonigle (Monroe/Lemon-Monroe) broke his own indoor school record by clearing 6-9 ¾ to earn the second All-America honor in his Wilmington career. The WC junior was an eyelash away from claiming the national title, but was edged by Central College’s Ethan Miller, who cleared 6-11 on the final jump of the competition.
“It feels great. I’m happy with how the results went. I was really hoping for that No. 1, but I’ll settle for No. 2 right now,” McMonigle said.
McMonigle was solid from the beginning with first-jump clearances at 6-4 ¾ and 6-6 ¾.
“I felt a little tight in my legs earlier in the day,” McMonigle said. “I did some stretching and my legs starting feeling better. Once warm-ups started, I started having some jumps that felt really good. It just carried over to the meet. It was good to have that confidence from warm-ups. I just went out there and did it.”
While some athletes are just happy to be at the NCAA meet, McMonigle’s focus was squarely set on winning. He cleared 6-8 ¾ on his second attempt and put himself in position to win the national championship with a 6-9 ¾ jump on his third attempt. He missed all three attempts at 6-11. Miller, who trailed McMonigle on misses, ended the event with a clutch jump at 6-11.
“The whole meet I just kept thinking that if I went clean I could win it,” McMonigle said. “I was counting it out. The last couple heights, I was definitely paying attention. I was telling myself that this height is going to give me No. 1 if I clear it. I just kept going with it. I didn’t ever think that I was out of it. I just made sure that I stayed in the mix of things.”
McMonigle — who finished 8th in the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet and 10th outdoor in 2010 — was making his first appearance in an NCAA indoor championship. His indoor season peaked on Friday, but the foundation was started last summer.
“I was motivated by not making All-American last year. I told myself that that’s not going to happen again. Over the summer, I started working and worked even harder in the fall,” McMonigle said.
Wilmington head coach Ron Combs said a nagging ankle injury that hampered McMonigle during the indoor season made him something of a question mark for the NCAA meet.
“Braden really hasn’t jumped a lot in the last month,” Combs said. “He went to Mount Union last weekend and jumped OK, but nothing great. We really didn’t know what we were going to get today, but he really looked on right from the opening bar. He had some big clearances early on and put himself in a good spot, and just carried it all the way through the competition.”
With the indoor monkey off his back, McMonigle will now take a breath and point toward the outdoor season — a time of year where he has already shined. Indoor success, he said, provides reason to be optimistic about the outdoor season.
“It means there are good things to come,” McMonigle said.