Timing is everything for Carey McLeod
Jamaican long jumper Carey McLeod is developing a brilliant sense of timing. On his last opportunity, McLeod won his event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque on March 10. That success mirrored his double success for Kingston College at...
Jamaican long jumper Carey McLeod is developing a brilliant sense of timing. On his last opportunity, McLeod won his event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque on March 10. That success mirrored his double success for Kingston College at his last ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in 2017. Now he’s hoping to win the NCAA Outdoor title in his last season of college eligibility.
Competing for the University of Arkansas, the 24-year-old Jamaican previewed his NCAA indoor win with a triumph at the South Eastern Conference indoor championships, flying 8.19 metres before taking advantage of Albuquerque’s 1600 metres of altitude to equal the national indoor long jump record of 8.40 metres on March 10.
Now, he is getting ready for the outdoor season with another NCAA title on his radar.
“Pretty much just do the same,” he said earlier this week from Fayetteville, Arkansas. “Never won an outdoor. You know, that’s a goal of mine, just repeating what I did indoors, part of the senior year, putting the icing on the cake,” he quietly asserted.
In Jamaica, he moved from Garvey Maceo High to Kingston College and ended his Champs career with a Class One long and triple jump double, spanning a notable 7.72 metres despite resistance of a pesky headwind. In the United States, after a stint at Emporia State University, he excelled at the University of Tennessee, placing second indoors and third in both the long and triple jump in NCAA competition. His move to Arkansas showed his brilliant timing again, as he now stands level with James Beckford atop the all-time Jamaica performance list.
Eliminated early in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (held in 2021) in both jumps, he believes that experience has helped. “It was a rough one,” he allowed, with a hint of disappointment evident in his voice. “I was hoping to do better but, you know, nothing happens before its time; so I would say I used that as a motivation, just coming back working hard,” he explained.
Elaborating further, McLeod declared: “I know that I have the experience, so whatever task is at hand, I’ll always be relied on to pull through whenever it counts, because I’ve been on the highest stage competing. So I guess I can use that as leverage over everyone that I’ve competed with.”
Coached at both Tennessee and Arkansas by Travis Geopfert, he added, “I would say I’ve definitely used going to the Olympics as my biggest motivation, staying focused, staying patient.”
Geopfert’s input is important to McLeod.
“Once you have someone you could relate to, you know, someone who has your best interest at heart; and I think we just kind of clicked,” he elucidated. “That’s probably the best thing any athlete could have, a good relationship with their coach, for any programme to work, I would say so. I would definitely say he’s more than just a coach. He’s a dad to me,” McLeod concluded.
If he times it right, he could finish his senior season as NCAA outdoor champion.