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Jumping for Joy

Red Hawk George Alexandris captures national long jump championship

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George Alexandris

With his jump of 7.92 meters, or 26 feet, George Alexandris leapt to victory – and made Montclair State history – at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse on May 24.

The first Red Hawk male to win an NCAA title in 25 years, Alexandris broke the 44-year national championship meet record, which was set in 1974 at the first Division III championship. He also broke the Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex record and shattered his own Montclair State record that he had set the week before. In addition, he registered the second-best mark in Division III history.

“The feeling of turning in a championship performance is truly magical,” the health and physical education major says. “To get to this point in time, it took many hardships and experiences that have enabled me to grow into who I am today – physically, mentally and spiritually. Without God, my family and loved ones, coaches and teammates, none of this would be possible. I am forever thankful.”

Alexandris entered the Championship meet with the No. 3 distance in the country. He opened the event with a 7.65-meter jump, which he followed with a 7.72-meter, or 25-feet, 4-inch, leap. For his final record-breaking 7.92-meter jump, he went all out.

This was transfer student Alexandris’ first season as a Red Hawk. As well as being a long jumper, he also competed in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4×100 meter relay events.

Alexandris’ achievement is even more impressive since an injury had sidelined him during the season for a month. “I suffered a bad hamstring pull that kept flaring up and being reinjured,” he recalls. “The team here at Montclair State helped me back with treatment and rehab.”

While he broke the school record at the Coach Pollard Invitational at Moravian on April 14, he did not compete again in the long jump until the Mideast Invitational in May, where he handily overtook the top-ranked competitor to move into the NCAA Championship finals.

“George has truly accomplished something amazing,” says Head XC and Track and Field Coach John Brennan. “George is a young man who has overcome adversity and is a credit to himself and his family.”

Alexandris looks forward to continuing to train during the summer. “I see it as a valuable opportunity to get faster, stronger and become a better athlete leading into the next season,” he explains.  “I love the fact that I can improve and see how far my body and mind can be pushed. There is no feeling or experience I can draw upon that can be compared to the feeling I get training and competing for the sport of track and field. It’s truly my love and passion.”