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July 20, 2018

O’Neal advances to NCAA Championships with school record jump

O'Neal breaks record

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second consecutive meet, senior Matthew O’Neal broke his own school record in the triple jump on Saturday at the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla., and in doing so, finished in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA Championships for the fourth-straight year.

The Jackson, Miss., native recorded a jump of 55 feet, 9.75 inches (17.01m), the best among the field, which featured the top 48 athletes east of the Mississippi River. It was over 10 inches better than his previous best of 54-11.50 (16.75), set on May 15 at the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships in Orlando.

“It’s just a tremendous blessing,” said O’Neal. “I give all glory to God because he is the reason I’m able to jump and compete. I’m glad that I was able to do this in front of my family and for my school.”

What his family witnessed was the eighth-best jump in the world this year.

O’Neal will look for All-American status for the sixth time in his career when he competes in Eugene, Ore. on June 10. O’Neal finished ninth at the national outdoor meet last June and was the runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships this season in March.

Also competing in the triple jump for USF on Saturday was Errol Ennis. The freshman from Jamaica, who finished fourth at conference, had an opening jump of 44-1.25 (13.44m). But during the jump, aggravated a right foot injury that kept him out of most of the outdoor season. He withdrew from the competition after the jump and finished 46th.

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