BOISE, Idaho Boise State senior Eleni Kafourou made history, Friday (March 13), by winning the women’s long jump at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. Kafourou is the first women’s NCAA National Champion, in any sport, in Boise State history. Her jump of 21-5.25 (6.53m) broke her own school record of 21-01.25 (6.43m), which she set on Feb. 6. Her win also marks just the eighth individual national title in school history.

“I’m really excited,” Kafourou said. “I kind of can’t believe it. I’ve been training really hard. I’ve been trying every day to give all that I have and I don’t think I could ask for more. I tried to be [out practicing hard] every day so that I wouldn’t have an excuse. I think the results speak for themselves.”

            Kafourou, a native of Athens, Greece (9th Kykeium of Pireas HS), entered the weekend ranked No. 7 nationally. After advancing to the championship flight with a jump of 21-2.12 (6.46m), Kafourou recorded her title winning jump in her second to last attempt of the event. Her fifth jump of the day proved to be just enough to edge out Jeomi Maduka of Cornell, who finished second with a mark of 21-4.00 (6.50m).

             “It’s such a great thing, to watch her development as a student-athlete from a freshman to a senior and now an NCAA champion,” Boise State Head Coach Mike Maynard said. “To see history being made, that’s an honor. It couldn’t happen to a better person. No one has worked harder than her.”

            Kafourou is no stranger to the spotlight of nationals, as she is competing in her second indoor national championship meet. In 2008 she finished 11th in the long jump with a leap of 20-2.50 (6.16m). Kafourou has also competed at the outdoor national championships three times. She had never placed in the top-10 prior to this season, however, with her top outdoor finish being 21st in the long jump (20-2.25/6.15m) in 2008.

            “I want to thank all of my teammates, my coaches; they were all there for me,” Kafourou said. “Coach [Chris Huffins] has really helped me improve this year. In the past I had trouble with my approach. This year I started running sprints, and that helped me a lot.”

Kafourou competed in the 60-meter and the 200m dash at the Western Athletic Conference Championships, Feb. 26-28. She recorded a second-place finish in the 60m, to go along with WAC championships in the long and triple jumps. To date, Kafourou has 10 WAC championships to her name. Her win Friday marks just the fifth track and field national championship in school history.

            Boise State’s four previous track and field titles came from Eugene Green in the triple jump (1991), Jake Jacoby in the High Jump (1994) and Gabe Wallin in the Javelin (2004, 2005). Boise State has also captured two individual national championships in wrestling (Kirk White, 1999 and Ben Cherrington, 2006) and one in men’s skiing slalom (Bill Shaw, 1974).

           On Saturday at nationals Kafourou earned her second All-American honor of the weekend with a seventh-place finish in the triple jump (43-0.25/13.11m). Her individual success has helped to put the Boise State women's team on the map nationally, scoring the first national indoor championship team points in school history this year. The Broncos finished the meet in 19th place with 12 points. The University of Tennessee won the women's team title with 42 points.

            “I want to thank everybody who has ever supported our program,” Coach Maynard said. “We feel that this is huge for [Boise State track and field]. We just put down the best year in the history of the women’s program, in my opinion, even though we fell just short at the WAC Championships. What the women’s team has done is so important for the program. I think [Eleni’s win] is kind of indicative of what we have in store for the future.”


ESPN2 to Replay National Indoor Championships


            On Monday, March 23, ESPN2 will air a 90-minute replay of the 2009 NCAA Division I National Indoor Championship meet. The show is scheduled to air at 2:30 p.m. (ET).


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