NSU– A community reception is set for 2 o’clock Monday afternoon in the Steve and Lori Stroud Room at the Northwestern State athletic fieldhouse to honor recently-crowned NCAA Indoor champion long jumper Jasmyn Steels.
The event is open to anyone. Steels, a junior at NSU who has a 3.6 grade point average in psychology, captured the national collegiate major college championship in her specialty, the long jump, last Friday evening at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
Her victory gave the NSU program its fourth NCAA championship, to go with the Demons’ fabled 1981 4×100 meter relay team led by Joe Delaney and Mark Duper; Brian Brown winning the 1990 NCAA Indoor high jump crown; and Trecey Rew capturing the 2011 women’s discus title.
“Becoming an All-American in track and field is a tremendous accomplishment because that means you ranked among the top 16 in your event against athletes from across the country, from the brand names in college sports,” said head track and field coach Mike Heimerman. “To actually be the champion, to be the best in your event at the NCAA Championships, is simply incredible.”
She entered the competition, her first national meet, as the ninth-seeded jumper in a 16-woman field of qualifiers. Steels posted the winning mark, 21-2 ½, on her first attempt and held the lead through five more rounds.
Her distance was a career best. In fact, she had three more jumps that surpassed her previous career best of 20-9 ¼ that won the competition at the Tyson Invitational hosted by the University of Arkansas in early February. Her winning mark last Friday broke a 15-year-old school record set by four-time All-American Stephanie Sowell, a Natchitoches native and Natchitoches Central product.
Steels was also recognized Tuesday night before NSU’s home baseball game against LSU when she threw out a ceremonial first pitch.