UGENE, Ore. – Northwestern State thrower Djimon Gumbs reached the NCAA Championships in two events by saving his best for last.
Gumbs had his best shot put attempt Wednesday on his final throw, but the 55-9 mark wasn’t enough to advance to the final round in a stout field as he finished 23rd.
The top nine throwers earned a final three attempts, and the cut off was 63-9, which is further than Gumbs’ personal best of 63-0.75.
“Djimon looked decent in warmups, and he knew he’d have to get after it on three attempts to have a chance at the finals,” said NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “The shot didn’t look good coming off his hands, and you could tell he just wasn’t comfortable with it.
“He couldn’t use his usual shot put because it came up .01 kilos short of the required weight, and he just wasn’t comfortable with the other shot.”
The sophomore launched his personal record on his final attempt at the NCAA East Preliminaries to earn his spot in the national championships, where he ranked 19th coming in.
His other two attempts Wednesday included a mark of 50-5.25 and a foul.
That 63-0.75 pushed Gumbs into the No. 2 spot on the NSU shot put charts, bumping coach Mike Heimerman back to the third slot.
Gumbs, who is one of just two male throwers to make the nationals in multiple events, will compete in the discus Friday at 7:35 p.m. ranked 18th in the 24-thrower field.
“I think he had some nerves out there with it being his first time at the NCAA Championships, and that’s completely understandable,” Heimerman said. “He’ll learn from (Wednesday) and take it into Friday’s discus for sure and come out more relaxed.
“The goal was this season was to make regionals, and here he is at nationals in his first season with us. He took his personal best from 56 feet to 63 feet this season, so there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
The British Virgin Islands native is the first male Demon to qualify for nationals in multiple events and the first BVI athlete to qualify as a thrower.
Photo: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services