Trackster James Carter leaps past competition

Junior James Carter played a large role in Iowa track and field’s Big Ten indoor championship performance last Saturday.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa jumper James Carter competes in the men’s triple jump during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020.

Lauren Swanson, Sports Reporter

Last weekend, Iowa men’s track and field scored a school-record 119 points to win the 2021 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

Prior to last Saturday, the Hawkeyes had not won the event since 1929. In 1963, Iowa claimed a share of the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championship.

Among the athletes that greatly contributed to Iowa’s success was junior James Carter.

In the long jump, Carter earned conference gold and set a career record, landing at 7.65 meters. The Oak Creek, Wisconsin, native is the first Hawkeye to win a Big Ten indoor long jump title since Matty Gorman did so in 2005.

Despite the individual nature of the long jump, Carter still believes his teammates helped him leap farther than he ever had before.

“I feed off of the energy I get from my teammates,” Carter said. “They play a big part in and how well we all do. I really heard all of them cheering me on, and it’s just kind of just like a thing where I tell myself that we put in a lot of work for this, so now is the time to show everybody all the work we have been doing.”

Carter led a group of Hawkeye long jumpers that produced 23 total team points in the long jump alone. Junior Jamal Britt finished third in the event, hitting a 7.46-meter benchmark while sophomore Deandre Stapleton Jr. placed fourth with a career-best 7.41-meter showing, and freshman Kaleba Jack leaped to 7.20 meters.

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Associate track and field head coach Clive Roberts has worked closely with Carter and seen him step up on and off the runway.

“I think James is really easy to get along with,” Roberts said. “I think everyone can say that he goes along at his own speed. He’s just a really good guy. He’s going to be there to help you, he’s going to be there to uplift you, he’s just a good-hearted young man. I think James is not going to be a vocal leader, per se, but I think he brings a level of excitement and calmness to practice that some may be lacking right now.”

Both Roberts and Carter have now turned their attention to the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which begin March 11 and conclude March 13.

“The biggest thing is just making sure [the athletes] recover from the conference championships, and kind of get them ready, fresh for the NCAA championships,” Roberts said. “… I know with the multi athletes that I have a part in, as far as the long-term portion of it, it’s just trying to make sure they feel confident and comfortable on the runway.”

In total, five Hawkeyes will make the trip to the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville.