Stevens: Top 12 Lobo Moments: Kendall Spencer Jumps To National Title
July 25, 2012
Top Lobo Moments From 2011-12: GoLobos.com is flashing back on 12 special Lobo moments from the 2011-12 season.
Today: Lobos Go Indoor For National Title
Next: Drew Gordon's Sensational Year Includes Rebounding Record
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
A national championship doesn't come easy. If it's a title chase in a team sport, you have to rely on teammates and sometimes help from other teams along the championship trail.
If it's an individual NCAA crown, there are hundreds of athletes in your specialty training and wishing for the same end result. You have to be the last man or the last woman standing. You have to be outstanding at the right moment.
The University of New Mexico had a last Lobo standing at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships when sophomore Kendall Spencer outlasted the field to win the national indoor long jump title.
"Right now, it really hasn't set in just yet. I'm still kind of on edge from the competition, but it feels good," Spencer said after the win.
Actually, it probably felt better than "good," especially when you consider the number of athletes that head into a season eyeing a national title. And Spencer had to pull the upset.
Spencer set a UNM mark and a Mountain West mark with his winning jump of 26 feet, 3.5 inches. He was outstanding at the right moment.
Spencer was a dark horse going into the event as he had to beat the top three NCAA seeds in Damar Forbes of LSU, Marquise Goodwin of Texas and Marquis Dendy of Florida.
"To have a performance like that and improve as much as he has the last couple of meet has been quite remarkable," Franklin said after Spencer's win. "It's an amazing accomplishment for Kendall and the University of New Mexico."
The win put a Lobo back on the top spot on the podium to break a one-year drought. Former Lobo Lee Emanuel notched back-to-back titles in the mile run in 2009 and in 2010.
Spencer's win was the second national title to come to UNM in that event. UNM's Clarence Robinson won the long jump in 1965 with a jump of 25 feet, 10.5 inches.
Spencer went to the NCAA finals with the fifth best jump in the nation. LSU's Forbes had the No. 1 jump at 26-7.75. Forbes, with a jump of 26-2.75, had to settle for second place behind Spencer.
The national title obviously was the highlight of the indoor season for Spencer, but he also was named the Mountain West Men's Indoor Athlete of The Year and his performance at the NCAA indoor finals earned him a spot on the NCAA First Team All-American squad.