Senior member of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men’s track and field team, La’Derrick Ward (Alorton, Illinois), was chosen as the United States representative in the men’s long jump for the Pan American Festival in Mexico City, Mexico.
The USA Track and Field team will include one male and one female for 11 events in throws, jumps and distance. The selection is based on a ranking order list.
“To have La’Derrick chosen as the USA representative in the men’s long jump is great exposure for him and SIUE,” said Head Coach Eileen McAllister. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for him to gain exposure to international competition.”
Ward, who posted a school record of 8.00 meters (26 feet, 3 inches) at the SIUE Gateway Invite in April, will compete in the festival Aug. 15-16. Ward’s 8.00m jump was also an NCAA Division I best for the past season.
“Coaching the athlete and interacting with the person La’Derrick Ward is a unique experience,” said Jumps Coach Iliyan Chamov. “He is one of the few athletes who is able to combine talent and hard work, which I believe is the formula for his success this season.”
Ward saw tremendous success in the 2013-2014 indoor and outdoor seasons at SIUE. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the league’s track and field coaches. He won the long jump at three events: the SIUE Gateway Invite, the OVC Outdoor Championships and the Cougar Classic. He also posted SIUE’s best-ever finish in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships with a fourth-place finish in the long jump.
“This is the first international competition for La’Derrick wearing the U.S. jersey, but most certainly not the last,” said Chamov.
Ward competes at 5 p.m. CDT Frida.