March 14, 2014
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
By CHRIS BREWER
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- So you're saying there's a chance.
University of Iowa sophomore Klyvens Delaunay has a good chance, actually. Much, much better than one in a million.
Delaunay, a triple jump All-American in 2013, earned the final qualifying spot for the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and competes this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M., for a shot at a national championship.
As far as he can see it, he has a one-in-16 chance of getting it done.
"Because I was banged up the seed didn't matter to me," said Delaunay, who is rated No. 16 in a 16-man field. "My goal was to make it to nationals, and I knew I would have to pull out a jump just to be able to go. That was the first goal. The goal now is to place and potentially win a national championship."
Delaunay hit his 52-foot-1 ¼ (15.88m) qualifying mark at the Tyson Invite on Feb. 15. He placed fifth in the event, behind Baylor's top-seeded Felix Obi (16.44m), Florida State's No. 2 seed Jonathan Reid (16.32m), and Mississippi State's eighth-seeded Jason Harper (16.03m).
He placed ahead of Harper at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships. In fact, of the four returning participants that competed in the 2013 finals, Delaunay placed in front of three of them.
His coach says that experience, coupled with a championship training regimen, has Delaunay poised for a run.
"He is used to being at that level," said assistant coach Clive Roberts, who has trained five Big Ten triple jump champions since 2011. "It will definitely help him that he got to go to nationals last year and be an All-American, but he also benefits from competing in practice every single day with a Big Ten champion, Babatunde Amosu, so it's one of those things that they are used to being in the fire."
Amosu won the 2014 Big Ten indoor title with a jump of 51-7 ¾ (15.74m), but his season-best wasn't enough to advance to the NCAA finals. Delaunay's personal-record was good enough, and he said he is prepared to be the last Hawkeye standing.
"(Babatunde) put a lot of pressure on me, and I know he'd want to be out there and win a national championship," said Delaunay. "He inspires me every day. Now I have to take the torch and potentially move it forward and dedicate it to Iowa. I need to take the torch and handle it myself."
Delaunay will not be completely alone in New Mexico. A native of Claremont, Calif., he expects his family to make the 750 mile trip to Albuquerque to see him perform for the first time this season.
"My family takes every chance they get to go to the meet," said Delaunay. "Whenever they have an excuse to go, they love to support me."
The triple jump begins Saturday at 7 p.m. (CT) at the Albuquerque Convention Center. ESPN3 will stream the meet live beginning Saturday at 6:50 p.m. (CT). A tape delay of the championships will air Saturday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU.
The nationally-ranked Iowa women's tennis team opens Big Ten play Friday at Nebraska.
Two incoming UI women's basketball recruits have been named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana and Minnesota.