(March 12, 2012) -- Killeen native Omar Craddock, a former charter high school student and 2009 graduate of Richard Milburn Academy HS, became the first Central Texan to win a national title in the triple jump during the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday.
He posted a collegiate-leading mark and personal best of 54 feet, 11.5 inches; the distance ranks Craddock no. 1 in college, no. 3 on the 2012 U.S. men's list (placing him in contention to earn one of three spots on this summer's U.S. Olympic Team) and no. 18 in the world.
Craddock gained acclaim as a youth and junior USA track and field and AAU competitor; he earned a Division I scholarship competing on the track and field club circuit. As a 14-year-old, in 2005 - several weeks before Hurricane Katrina - Craddock won his first national title at Tad Gormley Stadium, in New Orleans, Louisiana; he participated in the AAU Youth Boys' division triple jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nG1RyM3nq8&feature=related.
He was a five-year member of Jump Corps, a field events specialty training and scholastic education club focused on the development of youth, junior and senior elite triple and long jumpers. His career best jumps as a high school athlete began in 2007 at the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic, which he won, jumping 15.16 meters/49 feet, 9 inches: still the longest jump in U.S. history by an intermediate division boy
During the winter 2008 indoor season, Craddock became the first Texas high school athlete in history to surpass the 50-foot barrier, indoors, at the prestigious Simplot Games, in Pocatello, Idaho, where he jumped 50 feet, 10.5 inches (ranking him on the high school and national U.S. men's list, at age-16):
The same year, in 2008, he won the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and set a stadium record, and several weeks later garnered a gold medal at the Nike Outdoor Championships