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Top 44 Athletes of the Decade: #42 JuVaughn Harrison

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The man could jump

2019 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Just his “other” sport
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

We don’t know what got into the drinking water in Baton Rouge recently, but suddenly there has been explosion in jumping talent. Mondo stole the headlines, and yeah we’ll get to him, but it was JuVaughn Harrison who pulled off the rare double jumping national championship.

Harrison considers himself “a high jumper who did long jump.” Well, I guess in his off time he learned how to be the best long jumper in the nation, leaping 8.2 meters and into first place at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

But it was at the high jump he truly excelled. In high school he ranked fourth in the nation with his 2.18m high jump, but as unranked in the long jump. LSU recruited hi as a high jumped and essentially let him do the long jump to fill out the roster. Why the heck not? If he didn’t develop, no big deal.

He certainly became a big deal.

Harrison won the bronze medal at the IAAF World U20 Championships after his freshman year, catapulting him to his elite season. He roomed with three LSU athletes who all won gold medals at the U20 championships, who teased him about only winning bronze as motivation. It seems to have worked.

When he cleared 2.27 meters at the high jump, securing his second national title in the same meet, he became not just the first LSU athlete to pull off the feat, but the first athlete from any school to do so.

JuVaughn Harrison is the only person to ever — REPEAT… EVER – to win the NCAA outdoor national title in both the long jump and the high jump in the same year.

He case back for his junior year, only to be robbed of his chance to add to his legacy by pulling off the double-double by the coronavirus pandemic. All events were cancelled in both the indoor and outdoor season.

At the time of the cancellation, LSU raked second in the nation in indoor, with Harrison as the key cog and defending USTFCCCA Athlete of the Year.

Heck, his biggest competition came from within his own team. Rayveon Grey won the indoor long jump title in 2019, making Grey and Harrison the first teammate duo to sweep the indoor and outdoor long jump titles since 1972.

You know, I think our track team is pretty good.