Cove native, former Lampasas Badger leaps to Tokyo Olympics
By TJ MAXWELL
Copperas Cove resident, former Lampasas Badger, and current Texas Longhorn, Steffin McCarter, has big shoes to fill when it comes to track and field in both Copperas Cove and Lampasas.
In Copperas Cove, he follows in the steps of the hurdler Robert Griffin III who chose football at Baylor University over his Olympic pursuits and at Lampasas he follows the legend Lam Jones who earned a Gold medal in the 4x100-meter relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.
The 24-year-old Copperas Cove native filled those shoes just fine over the weekend when he leaped a career-best 8.26-meters/27-feet, 1.25-inches in the long jump to finish third at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon and secure his spot in the XXXII Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo set to begin on July 23.
“Today was just awesome in general,” McCarter said in a press release on texassports.com. “I’m elated with what happened, just dealing with adversity and being able to execute. It was crazy coming out here and warming up and being ready to go, and then (they said) it’s too hot, but being from Texas, I’m like, ‘It’s not that bad,’ but it was just like a rollercoaster, but rolling with the punches and being able to come out an Olympian. I mean, wow, it’s so weird to say.”
McCarter qualified alongside fellow UT jumper Tara Davis and four other Longhorns.
“Being able to qualify with Tara is amazing,” McCarter said. “Coach Flo (Edrick Florèal) really knows what he’s doing, and it’s kind of crazy because he’d tell us, ‘Both of y’all are going to be Olympians,’ and we’re both sitting here looking at him like, ‘Okay, that’s a very long time from now.’ He wasn’t saying this at the beginning of the week, he was saying it last year or years ago. For that to come true, he really knew how to prepare us and get us ready for this moment. He’s amazing, I’m so grateful to have him as a coach, and I’m looking forward to having my training partner (Tara) over the next three, four weeks. It’s amazing to have both of us make the team. I can’t express how good that feels.”
McCarter was a four-year letterman for the Lampasas Badgers and capped his career with a bronze medal at the 2015 UIL Track and Field Championships at the sight of a lot of his future accomplishments as he had previously signed to the University of Texas.
McCarter excelled at Texas where he became a five-time USTFCCCA All-American and three-time Big 12 Champion. He finished 13th at the NCAA outdoor Championships as a freshman, earning second-team All-American honors and finished sixth in the Big 12 indoor competition. As a sophomore he earned a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships with a personal best jump of 7.83m/25-8.25. In his junior season he won the Big 12 title and improved his personal-best mark to 7.96m/26-1.5. McCarter. As a senior, he earned an outdoor Big 12 Championship with a leap of 7.93m/26-0.25 before he once again improved his best mark with a leap of 8.25m/27-0.75 at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center USATF Last Chance Qualifier. The jump made him just the third 27-footer in school history (Eric Metcalf, Marquise Goodwin).
McCarter joins Goodwin as the only two Longhorns to earn a spot on Team USA in the long jump.