As most CSUN students were hurrying to get started on their spring break, freshman Reindell Cole was sprinting down the runway at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. and launching himself into the fifth-best long jump in the world and the national championship.
Cole, who jumped a career-best 26-7.75 (8.12) won the NCAA Indoor Long Jump Championship and became CSUN’s first indoor champion on March 14 at the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas.
“That’s an amazing accomplishment for a freshman,” said Matador Director of Track ‘ Field Don Strametz. “What a great job by (jumps coach) Avery Anderson and what a tribute to Reindell.”
Cole was ranked second going into the NCAA Championships after Washington’s Norris Frederick upset him at the MPSF Championship by jumping a career-best 26-7.75 to capture that championship. Cole’s jump of 26-4.50 (8.04) took second place in the conference. This time, Frederick came in second at 26-2.75 (7.99).
“He kinda upset me there, but I got him back at nationals where it counted,” Cole said.
The championship caps an amazing season that started with the freshman’s debut jump that blew away the entire nation: a 26-1.75 (7.97) leap at the indoor season-opening University of Washington Invitational. Although others were surprised at his first effort, Cole said he had told people beforehand that he would jump 26 feet.
“They thought I was crazy,” Cole said. “Some people thought that (for) my first meet I was gonna open up with a good, high-24, low-25. But, no, I was working too hard for that.”
His next goal is to break 27 feet, but ultimately, Cole believes he can hit 28 feet.
“I think if I work harder, I think I’m capable of pulling off like a 28-low,” Cole said.” I’m at 26.7 right now and 27 is just around the corner. So, if I work hard enough I’ll probably be at 28-low.”
Cole, along with senior Justin Johnson, received 2008 USTFCCCA Men’s Division I Indoor Track ‘ Field All-American honors for their performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
For Johnson, who competes in the heptathlon, being named an All-American for the first time was “bittersweet.”
“They take the top eight Americans as All-American and my goal was to place eighth overall, and I placed ninth,” Johnson said. “It was exciting to be an All-American, but at the same time, it just kinda gives me more motivation for outdoor.”
Johnson, ranked 14th heading into the indoor championships, scored a career-best 5,623 points. He scored 3,157 points on the first day after running a career-best 7.16 in the 60-meter dash, jumping 23-8 (7.21) in the long jump, posting a distance of 39-11.25 (12.17) in the shot put and clearing a height of 6-8.75 (2.05) in the high jump. On the second day of competition, Johnson ran 8.10 in the 60-meter hurdles, cleared 4.15 meters (13-07.25) in the pole vault and ran 2:42.13 in the 1,000 meters.