Pemberton prepares for U.S. Olympic trials

by Adam Burns

Daily Cougar Staff

He only needs to have one good jump and he's in.

That seemed to be the consensus about Cougars hurdler and long jumper Darius Pemberton, who will compete in the long jump and 110-meter high hurdles for the U.S. Olympic trials, June 14-23 in Atlanta.

"I'm pretty confident," Pemberton said. "I've been working a lot in the long jump."

Whether or not he makes the U.S. Olympic track and field team, Pemberton is pretty happy about making the trials.

"It's just the biggest (American) meet for anyone this year," he said.

Pemberton's best chance of making the U.S. Olympic track and field team lies in the long jump, said UH track and field coach Tom Tellez.

"If he can jump in the 27s (feet range), he should make it," Tellez said.

Pemberton's outdoor career bests are 26-feet-3-1/2 inches legal and 26-feet-7-1/2-inches wind-aided.

But that doesn't mean he can't get over the 27-foot mark, Tellez said.

"I think (Pemberton) is very capable," he said. "It's all timing.

"You can have a really good day and add a foot to your leap," Tellez said.

Pemberton isn't ruling himself out of the 110-meter high hurdles either.

"I plan to run below 13.4 (seconds)," he said.

Pemberton's outdoor career-best legal time in the 110-meter high hurdles came at the NCAA championships semifinals Friday, with a time of 13.58 seconds.

Pemberton placed only fourth among collegians, but earlier this year, he won the title in the NCAA indoor championships.

"I just happened to have a bad weekend (at the outdoor championships)," Pemberton said. "I did well in the indoors."

Said Tellez, "We worked more on the hurdles than in the long jump (this year)."

Working out with world-class track and field athletes such as Carl Lewis has helped, Pemberton said.

Lewis, along with others such as Leroy Burrell, Mike Marsh and Michelle Collins, is among the athletes who have been practicing at Robertson Stadium for the upcoming trials.

Having Lewis to jump with, as well as Cougar teammate Sheddric Fields, has been a big help, Pemberton said.

Pemberton is not to be counted out in Atlanta, Lewis said.

"I think Darius has as good a chance as anyone," he said. "There's strong competition, but you only need to have one good jump.

"I think (Pemberton) has the potential to do that."

Visit The Daily Cougar