Ellenson Set to Contend For NCAA High Jump Title
June 10, 2015
2015 NCAAOutdoor Track & Field Championships
EUGENE, Oregon -- Marquette University junior high jumper Wally Ellenson is set to make his third-straight appearance at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships this Friday, June 12, at Historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
The Rice Lake, Wisconsin native has already earned All-American accolades in his previous two trips as a member of the University of Minnesota, including a runner-up finish in 2014. His quest for a national championship begins at 6 p.m. Central time on Friday and can been viewed live on ESPN and WatchESPN.
"The two national meets I've had a chance to be a national champion and those jumps have stuck with me," Ellenson said looking back on his previous two trips to nationals. "I'm a junior now and ready to attack and make the most of the situation (this year)."
Ellenson has enjoyed a stellar season in both indoor and outdoor competition thus far in 2015. Back in January, he set the Marquette record and a personal best mark when, in his first competition of the season, he jumped 2.28 meters (7-5.75 feet) at the University of Wisconsin and won the meet.
He went on to set the BIG EAST Indoor Championship meet record with a jump of 2.22 meters (7-3.25 feet) and was named Most Outstanding Field Athlete of the meet for his performance. He then placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 2.23 meters (7-3.5 feet), behind a Texas Tech duo that eclipsed 2.29 meters (7-6 feet).
He accomplished it all as a dual sport athlete, still participating in team practices and workouts as a member of the Marquette men's basketball program, but unable to participate in games due to the NCAA transfer rule.
With the conclusion of in-season work with the men's hoops team, Ellenson and Marquette jumps coach, Rick Bellford, found more time to refine his technique and approach. By the time the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships came along, Ellenson started to find his groove. The junior won the BIG EAST crown with ease, leaping to what might seem pedestrian for his standards at a height of 2.11 meters (6-11 feet).
That followed a victory at Purdue and a third place finish at the Drake Relays in which he leaped over 2.16 meters (7-1 feet) in each occurrence.
Everything clicked when he got to the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas where he successfully cleared each of his four jumps en route to qualifying for NCAA Outdoors in Eugene, Oregon. He was one of just two jumpers without a failed attempt as the competition was stopped at 2.20 meters (7-2.5 feet) once 12 competitors remained.
"After regionals -- not missing a bar -- I feel I'm as prepared as I've been all year," he said. "It all came together. The pop came back in my legs and my form over the bar was the best that it's been all year. I just can't wait to go out there and show what I have on a national level."
Heading into this week, Ellenson said he feels he's peaking at the perfect time to compete for a national championship and after coming so close to reaching the top of the podium just one year ago, he's more motivated than ever before.
"I've PR'd both times I've gone out there," Ellenson said. "I just love the moment, love living in it. It's an amazing crowd and when I get them behind me, I get amped up."
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