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Monday, January 23, 2012


Keyvan Rudd cleared 7-1 Saturday
in a meet held at Iowa State

In 1971, Gene Bygd became the first high jumper in the history of Minnesota State to clear the seven-foot barrier. 

There have been several since to accomplish the feat including Mike Fairchild, who was the NCAA Division Indoor Track & Field high jump champion in 1988 when he went 7-3 and, of course, Jim Dilling.  All Dilling did as a Maverick was win four NCAA DII national championships (2005 & 2007 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field champ and 2006 & 2007 NCAA Division II Indoor champ) and establish current outdoor (7-6.5 set in 2007) and indoor (7-6.5 set in 2007) records.

Dilling's now back at MSU, working on a master's degree, training and competing internationally, and coaching.  One of his current pupils with the Mavericks, sophomore Keyvan Rudd, became MSU's latest member of the seven-foot club, when he cleared 7-1 to finish second at a meet at Iowa State last Saturday (Jan. 21st).

"It's great that he's gotten the national qualifying standard out of the way so soon in the season," said Dilling. "Now he can just focus on getting ready for conference and nationals. And getting over that seven-foot barrier is a big mental hurdle and he has the potential to go even higher. There haven't been that many guys here, or anywhere, who have hit the seven-foot level, so it's great to see him accomplish that."

Rudd, who also is a wide receiver for the MSU football team and hails from Davenport, Iowa, qualified for the 2011 NCAA Indoor National Championships last year as a freshman where he posted a 12th-place finish with a 6-5 (1.96m) effort. His 7-1 leap at Iowa State ranks third amongst all Division II high jumpers this year, standing only behind  Christopher Copeland (St. Augustine's) and Briar Ploude (Emporia State), both who have cleared 7-1 3/4.

"It feels great to finally overcome that six-foot area and join the seven-foot club," said Rudd. "It's more overwhelming than some think because that seven-foot threshold can be a jumper's best friend or worst enemy. This past weekend, I made it my best friend!"

MSU hosts the 2012 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Track & Field Championships Feb. 24-25 and the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championships March 9-10 in Myers Field House.