For the second straight sprint, former Lynn Tech jumper Justin Lewis, now running track at Worcester State University, has won the Division III Outdoor High Jump National Championship.
Lewis, a sophomore, won the event Friday at the national meet in La Crosse, Wisconsin, with a school-record 2.18m (7-1.75″) at the Memorial Field Sports Complex.
Lewis is the first back-to-back high jump champion since Wheaton College’s Dan Olson (2002-04).
Lewis entered the championships second in the nation with a season-best height of 2.12m (6-11.5″). At the event, he broke not only his season record, but bested his previous school record of 2.16m (7-1), which he registered at last year’s NCAA Division III National Outdoor Championships for the individual title.
Friday, he went head-to-head with Tufts’ Stefan Duvivier and cleared the 2.18m (7-1.75) marking on his first attempt. Duvivier couldn’t clear the specified height, which made Lewis the national champion.
“I felt good all day,” Lewis said. “Had a good talk with my coach, and and I just had a great day.
“I knew I’d broken the school record,” he said, “because I’d set it the year before in the same meet.”
This season, Lewis earned All-America status in the indoor championships with a fifth-place finish in the high jump. Lewis was named the MASCAC/Alliance, Division III New England, and All New England (NEICAA) high jump champion in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“It’s incredible,” said John Hogan, who coached Lewis in high school. “This is the second year in a row. He missed being a national champion in high school, even though he won the New Englands twice in the high jump.
“He got a few Division 1 looks in high school, but he wanted to play football too. He played at Worcester, but it was nothing outstanding. Nothing like winning the national championship.”
Now that he’s won, though, the business administration is not looking for greener pastures.
“I plan on staying where I am,” he said. “I’m doing well here.”
Tech has had two national-caliber track stars in the last 20 years. Franklyn Sanchez was a state champion 2-miler who graduated from Tech in 1999, and Lewis.
“I’ve seen them both,” said Hogan. “I lean a little bit more toward Franklyn. He went to Georgetown, which is Division 1, and he ran, but he never won a national championship. He got and didn’t have the stellar career, but it was Division 1 vs. Division III.”
Hogan feels Lynn might be coming into its ow with regards to track.
“We have a lot of good, young coaches,” he said. “And some good kids,” such as English’s Juan Avelino, who will run for Division 1 UMass-Lowell next year.
“A lot of kids run track to stay in shape for football, and then end up liking it. “