Highland’s Floyd Whitaker jumped an outdoor PR 50-11 ¾ and qualified for the triple jump finals at the World Under-20 Championships in South America Thursday.
Whitaker, who just finished his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota, came into the meet seeded 14th but he was the 10th-best qualifier on Thursday at Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Santiago de Cali, Colombia.
Whitaker’s previous wind-legal outdoor PR was a 50-2 ¼ at the NCAA West Preliminary Round meet at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark., on May 27. He had a wind-aided 51-2 when he placed 5th in the final of the triple jump at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis in May.
Whitaker’s lifetime legal PR is a 51-5 ¼ from an indoor meet at the Minnesota Fieldhouse on Jan. 29, so he was only 5 ½ inches off that mark in Thursday’s qualifying.
Going into his 3rd and final attempt Thursday, Whitaker was out of qualifying range, but he leap-frogged six competitors on his final jump.
Whitaker opened with jumps of 49-5 ½ and 49-6 ½, and he needed a minimum of 50-2 ¼ to advance to the finals. He responded with the best outdoor jump of his life.
The final is scheduled for 7:55 p.m. Friday.
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