Schaefer jumps big

Danielle Joseph, co-sports editor

What looked to be an ordinary Friday afternoon turned out not so ordinary for Ryan Schaefer, senior and Varsity Track and Field Athlete, who broke a 50-year old South record in the high jump.

Schaefer jumped 6 feet and 7 and a quarter inches bettering South’s old record of 6 feet and 6 and a half inches, set in 1965 by Terry Webb, Schaefer said. Setting this record was special because of his deep passion for the high jump, Schaefer said.

“The high jump is my favorite event in track and field and has been ever since I started in middle school,” Schafer said. “It [is] super cool that it is the oldest school record and it is even more special to me because it shows all the work I have put in is paying off.”

Schaefer will always remember this moment, especially as his senior track season winds down, he explained.

“As I landed on the mat after I cleared 6 feet, 7 and a quarter inches I was overwhelmed with emotion,” Schaefer said. “I laid on the mat with my hands over my face, and a bunch of my teammates ran over to me to celebrate. They were genuinely as surprised as I was. When I got off the mat, I was all smiles and extremely happy with my performance.”

Kurt Hasenstein, Track and Field Head Coach, noticed a change in Schaefer this year.

“The biggest difference this year is his physical maturity and his mental preparation for competitions,” Hasenstein explained. “[Schaefer] learned to keep things in perspective and continues to have fun with the sport.”

In addition to Schaefer’s positive mindset, John Nalley, Track and Field Jumps and Sprints Coach, explained that Schaefer’s success is a reflection of his dedication to the sport.

“I believe that [Schaefer’s] success this year is a great example for all athletes that success is a process,” Nalley said. “It takes time and dedication to work on your event [and] sport. [Schaefer] is great about studying his jumps and hurdles [and] watching other athletes perform, so he can learn from everyone.”

Schaefer is committed to Illinois State University’s track and field program next year. He hopes this record breaking moment is not the last accomplishment in the sport.

“I hope this milestone is just the beginning of my journey into collegiate track,” Schaefer said.