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HALL of FAME: RLC Hall inductee Dowden a true Triple Jump threat, 9x All-American
The 13th Rend Lake College Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in the RLC Student Center.
By Bob Kelley, retired RLC Sports Information Director and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee
INA, Ill. – Corey Dowden truly was a Triple Jump threat when he competed for Rend Lake College from 2002-04, which represented just the second and third seasons of the Warrior Track and Field program.
A National Championship in May 2004 at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Outdoor Championships should be evidence enough of that fact. Dowden, a product of Rich South High School in the Chicago suburb of Matteson, capped his Juco career by soaring 15.51 meters (50 feet 10.75 inches) in the Triple Jump for what will forever be RLC’s first Outdoor crown in Track and Field.
Further proof: Because of his winning leap and resulting title at Nationals, Dowden will be one of four NJCAA individual champions to be saluted Saturday night (March 24) with their induction into the Rend Lake College Sports Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2012, the 13th to be so honored since the Hall’s inception in 2000, is the largest yet, including three Track Relay Teams that rated No. 1 in the country and one other individual from the Sports Professional category.
Chances are good the public still does not understand what is meant when referring to Dowden as a true Triple Jump threat.
Yes, he did finish sixth Indoors and third Outdoors as a freshman in 2003 and was runner-up Indoors in March prior to his Outdoor Triple Jump Championship. How is that for showing improvement from meet to meet?
Eight years later, Dowden still owns the school Outdoor record, by over a foot. He rates second all-time Indoors with his 15.10M (49-6.75) performance at a Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Fast Start Meet in December 2003.
But believe it, Dowden was much more than that. He truly was a Triple Jump threat, in more ways than one.
He also competed at a very high level in the Long Jump and High Jump. That is what was meant by truly a Triple Jump threat!
A Personal Record in the Long Jump of 23-6.75 Indoors came in the Region XXIV Meet as a sophomore and ranked No. 1 for two years. His three All-America awards in the Long Jump were the result of a sixth Outdoors in 2003, eighth Indoors and fifth Outdoors the following seasons. An Outdoor best of 7.33M (24-0.75), No. 5 all-time, came at Southeast Missouri State in 2003.
In the High Jump, where he recorded PRs of 6-6.25 Indoors (fifth in RLC annals) and 6-8.75 Outdoors (fourth), he was fifth as a sophomore in the NJCAA Indoor Finals and seventh Outdoors.
All-America recognition is allotted the top eight in individual events, the top two teams in relays.
Any way you add it up, that is All-American status times nine for the Triple Jump threat.
Coach Brent McLain refers to Dowden as a “technical jumper,” one who concentrated on his form and technique to find success.
“Corey was also very coachable,” McLain added. “He wanted to learn, and he put the time in necessary to get better.”
“I would have to say he was the best jumper ever to come through Rend Lake College, because he did what the system was designed to do; he did everything the right way and he graduated.”
For his determination and effort, Dowden was rewarded with the opportunity to compete for Texas Tech University. He was All-Big 12 Conference Indoors (6th) and Outdoors (7th) as a junior and All-Region (eighth) Outdoors the same year with a leap of 49-7.25 (PR that season of 51-4.5). A Regional qualifier in the Long Jump, also, with a 24-1 best in the UTEP Invite.
Dowden claimed an AAU National Championship in the Triple Jump the summer before enrolling at Rend Lake College.
According to the Kirkwood (MO) Pioneers website, Dowden currently is in “his third season coaching basketball, first at Kirkwood. A native of Chicago, he will serve as an assistant to J.V. and Varsity teams. Once a member of Texas Tech’s 2005 Big 12 Conference championship track and field team; earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and currently working towards his Master in Youth Development. Coach Dowden will coach track and field in the spring at Kirkwood.”