Soroco graduate Estes places 3rd at National Championships
Talk to Alex Estes long enough, and it’s easy to realize he has uncanny composure for a college freshman.
Estes, a 2010 Soroco High School graduate and freshman at Adams State College in Alamosa, used his last jump in the long jump at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Division II National Championships on Friday to take third place and garner All-American honors.
He set a personal best of 24 feet, 3.5 inches on his sixth and last jump of the finals to place third.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania senior Nafee Harris jumped 25-2.5 to win, and Grand Canyon University freshman Aaron Hill jumped 24-4.5 to take second.
“Going into it, I was really excited. I was really ready,” Estes said. “I knew anything was possible. I knew I’d have to do really well and place if I wanted to be an All-American.”
Initially, it looked like Estes might not come close to finishing high.
He struggled on his first five jumps, scratching on two of them, and was in sixth place with his last jump to go.
Estes said his approach on the runway wasn’t right and he wasn’t attacking it like he should.
“It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It was on a national stage,” Estes said. “I just concentrated more and got more intense.”
On his final jump, Estes knew it was good. He looked back and to the sides to make sure he hadn’t fouled. With no red flags up, he ran back to the tape measure to see his jump.
“It was a relief,” he said.
The All-American honor wraps up a resounding opening season for Estes in Alamosa. In addition to Friday’s finish, he won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s long jump meet, the first freshman to win the conference long jump title since the 2001-02 season. He also was named All-Region and first-team All-RMAC.
“Maybe a few weeks ago I wanted to go and get a placing,” he said. “I definitely had expectations to go to nationals. I wanted to be here. I knew in my heart I could make it. You have to be confident. You can’t want to get 13th and be content with it. I’m too competitive for that.”
Estes will take a couple of weeks off before he begins the outdoor season.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com
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