Columbus, Ohio - March 11, 2011 - Springfield College track & field star Kevin Coyle was crowned the 2011 NCAA Division III Indoor National Champion in the long jump on Friday afternoon as he posted a leap of 23-10 1/4 (7.27m), which set a Capital Center Track record. Seeded fifth entering the competition, Coyle becomes the first male in Springfield College track and field history to win a national title in a jumping event.
"My cellphone has been going crazy," said Coyle less than an hour after the event. "I've had a tremendous amount of support back at Springfield College."
This marks the third straight year that a Springfield College student-athlete has been crowned a national champion at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2010, Nikki Hay, captured the national championship in the triple jump while in 2009, Steve Headley won the 55-meter dash national title.
A junior from Bradford, N.H., Coyle jumped his winning distance in his third leap of the championship flight. He jumped the exact same distance in the qualifying round to earn a spot in the finals.
"Coming in, I just wanted to keep my focus," said Coyle in an interview shortly afterwards. "I did not want to concern myself with what others were doing and what they were capable of. I just wanted to focus on what I could do.
"This year, I came in with much more confidence," said Coyle about his second appearance at nationals. "I felt like I deserved to be here. Overall, this hasn't hit me yet."
For head coach Ken Klatka, this is his third national champion in indoor track and field and his first in the jumping events. Damian Larkins won the indoor shot put title in 1999 and Headley took home the 55 meter title in 2009.
Coyle entered the event ranked fifth in the long jump after reaching a qualifying mark of 7.18m (23-6 3/4) on December 4th in the Springfield College Field House.
For Coyle, this marked his second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships. Last season, Coyle achieved All-American status in the long jump with a distance of 6.85 meters (22-5 3/4) as he placed eighth.
He will compete again on Saturday in the triple jump, where he is seeded ninth after jumping a distance of 14.65m (48-0 3/4) at last weekend's ECAC Division III Championships