Ellenson Set to Contend for NCAA Indoor High Jump Title
March 12, 2015
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"I've (competed) only outdoors my whole life," said Ellenson, whose dual-sport responsibilities have always forced him to skip the indoor season due to basketball. "This is a rare opportunity for me and I'm going to make the most of it."
Ellenson, who transferred from the University of Minnesota where he was a national runner-up in the high jump at last year's NCAA outdoor championships, is sitting out the men's basketball season due to NCAA transfer rules, which has enabled him to compete at the national indoor championships for the first time.
In his first-ever indoor meet hosted by Wisconsin back on Jan. 17, the Rice Lake, Wisconsin native won his event and shattered the Marquette all-time record, while setting the NCAA standardthis season with a jump of 7 feet, 5.75 inches (2.28 meters).
Since then, only two jumpers (Christoff Bryan - Kansas State; Jacorian Duffield - Texas Tech) have been able to match the mark. Meanwhile, Ellenson competed in three more meets and won them all. Splitting his time between basketball practices, lifts and high jump practices and competitions hasn't been easy, but he's making it all work as is evidenced by his tremendous success so far.
Such was the case at the Panther Tune-up hosted by Milwaukee on Feb. 20. Ellenson's jump of 7 feet, 3 inches bested the competition by a whopping 4 inches and set the Klotsche Center record in the process. An impressive feat considering he had already fit in a full basketball practice that evening.
"It's been pretty crazy, but I've seen my body be able to go through (basketball) practice and still jump," Ellenson said of the whirlwind season he's had so far. "Everything I've done right now is a bonus and I'm just looking forward to improving."
Records continued to fall at the BIG EAST Conference championships when his jump of 7 feet, 3.25 inches set the meet record and won the event. As a result, Ellenson was named the meet's most outstanding field athlete.
"His mental toughness (has impressed me most)," said Marquette head track and field coach Bert Rogers. "I think that balancing academics, track and field and basketball takes an uncommon level of discipline. I think that mental toughness and discipline is what will separate him from the rest of the competition."
FloTrack.org, which came out with their NCAA indoor championship preview earlier this week, projected Ellenson as their favorite to win the event. If you ask Ellenson, it's all about winning this weekend.
"This is a meet where I want to win," Ellenson said. "The rest of the meets during the season, other than the U.S. championships and outdoor nationals, those are meets where I want to set personal records. These are the type of meets I want to win and I'll do whatever it takes."
"This is an exciting weekend for MU track and field," said Rogers. "Wally has worked very hard to prepare for this moment and he is ready."
The high jump is slated to begin approximately 3:30 p.m. Central time on Saturday, March 14. As far as meet records go, former Louisiana-Lafayette high jumper, Hollis Conway, holds the all-time mark at 7 feet, 9.5 inches (2.37 meters) set back in 1989.
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