Lamar long jumper to compete at NCAA nationals

Kenson Tate enters Wednesday's event with the sixth-best long jump nationwide.

Photo of Matt Faye

For the second straight year, the Lamar University track and field team will be represented at the NCAA national championships. 

Kenson Tate, a freshman long jumper for the Cardinals, will look to "make a statement" on Wednesday when he competes in Eugene, Oregon with some of the the best track and field athletes nationwide. 

Tate's qualifying jump of 7.77 meters was the sixth-best mark of the 12 athletes to make the national cut. 

"I'm looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere of the national championship meet and laying it all out there," Tate said. 

That clutch jump from Tate came two weeks ago at the regional event in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The freshman was down to his final attempt, and was on the outside looking in for a spot at nationals. 

However, Tate's last jump proved to be his best, leaping 7.77 meters to set a new personal record and easily qualify for the NCAA championships. 

Related: A look back at PN-G's state baseball title

Tate said he took it easy throughout the week leading up to the regional event, so not to overwork himself. He did some light training and watched Olympic jumpers on YouTube to get his mind right. 

"I had lots of nerves, but reassured myself that I was here for a reason," Tate said. "On the last one I asked myself, 'Do you want this to be your last jump of the year?' I knew I (qualified for nationals) as soon as I landed."

Tate works directly with Lamar jumps coach Tyler Sunwall, who also coached former LU triple jumper Tylen Guidry last year during an NCAA championship appearance.  

Related: LU's Guidry set for NCAA championships

However, unlike Guidry who was culminating his career as a senior, Tate is just a freshman experiencing each postseason meet for the first time. 

"These have been invaluable experiences for a freshman, but we are not resting on the idea of having more opportunities in the future," Sunwall said. "We have been focusing on the opportunity at hand, and I am excited to see Kenson seize the chance to make the statement on Wednesday that he is one of the best long jumpers in the nation."

Tate is a graduate of Zachary High School, located just north of Baton Rouge. Two other Zachary graduates, LSU national champion hurdler Sean Burrell and Southeastern Louisiana discuss thrower Kristian Jackson, will also be in Oregon for nationals. 

The long jump event will begin at 8 p.m. CST from the University of Oregon. ESPNU will broadcast all the national championship events. 

Matt Faye is a Sports Reporter and Columnist for the Beaumont Enterprise. Contact him at or on Twitter by clicking here

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