PITTSBURG, K.S.—Tanner Stepp (Jefferson City, Tenn.) wraps up Carson-Newman's season with an All-American showing in the men's high jump at the 2016 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday afternoon.
"We are certainly proud of Tanner and everything that he has accomplished," coach David Needs said following the meet. "He came in a got first-team All-American honors and that is something that we aim for. On the national stage, a little mistake here and there can cost you a place or two, but to be standing on the platform at the end of the day is what we shoot for."
The sophomore, who competed in the Indoor Championships for the second consecutive year to begin his college campaign, cleared the 2.01 and 2.06 meter bar on the first attempt, but failed on the 2.11 meter height on the next three attempts.
Stepp's sixth-place finish at the Indoor Championships was good enough to earn All-American Honors from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association—the third time the jumper has received the postseason accolade in his career.
Jeron Robinson from TAMU-Kingsville won the individual national championship with the winning leap of 2.21 meters. Mikel Smith (Saint Martin's), Isiah Kyle (Winagte), Isaac Jean-Paul (Lewis) and Jalen Ramsey (Shippensburg) each came in at No. 2-5 with the 2.11 meter jump.
Robert Atwater from Saginaw Valley tied with Stepp for the sixth-best jump at 2.06 meters.
After sitting out the first few meets of the 2016 season with a high ankle sprain, the jumper stormed back to post a career-best of 2.14 meters at the Camel City Invitational on Jan. 29 and made it as high as sixth in the nation in the event this season.
Stepp finished first in the Southeast Region in the high jump and was named Field Athlete of the Year from the region a week prior to the start of the Championships.
"We are excited and are looking forward to the outdoor season and to become even better," Needs said. "Three national championship appearances and three All-American Honors is a pretty good thing for Tanner and we can't wait to see him get back out there in the outdoor season."
The Eagles end their most prolific season ever in the history of both Carson-Newman track and field programs (indoor and outdoor). C-N recorded 10 All-Region selections at the conclusion of the regular season that spanned across 13 events.
Double-digit athletes recorded provisionally qualifications over the course of the season and Stepp, along with Tori Gaul (Salisbury, N.C.) and Kevin Snead (Richmond, Va.), were ranked in the top-10 for a large portion of the season in their respected events.
Now, the Eagles will look to carry the momentum into the outdoor season as competition resumes on March 19 at the Power Sox Invitational.