Seattle University has a new name to add to its track and field record book—freshman Shaddye Melu broke the previous high jump record by jumping 1.98 meters, or 6’5”. On his next height, Melu set the record again at 6’8”, a new personal best by two inches.
The jump comes in Melu’s second meet, the Husky Classic. Melu, who also competes in the 400-meter dash, now sets his sights on jumping into the 7’ category, a major benchmark for elite high-jumpers. The jump of 6’8” gained Melu first place in his flight, and third place overall for the event, which featured athletes from many west coast schools.
“He’s got the talent to get up to being a national qualifier,” said Chad Pharis, Melu’s coach. “There’s plenty for us to work on and make improvements with. He should become a seven-footer, within, if not this season for sure the season after.”
Melu next competes in the WAC championship, with a chance to qualify for Nationals, should he be able to hit the mark needed to do so.
We have the WAC conference this coming up week,” said Melu. “You never want to shoot for anything less than first because even if you’re [in] a position for first and you’re not shooting for first you’re not going to take it.
As for what the record meant to him, Melu took it in stride, instead relishing the success in achieving his own personal goals.
“For me, I’m not much of a records guy, I’m more of a personal achievement guy,” Melu said. “Because when I jumped a 6’8” it was more me being happy in myself for jumping the jump that I came to jump. I didn’t even think of the school record at the time.”
His coach, however, lent more perspective to the actual achievement of breaking the record, especially so early in his career.
“It’s been an old school record, so he’s the first legitimate high jumper this school has ever had,” Pharis said. “The record was not set very high coming in, but just the fact that he could break it so early legitimizes what he’s capable of doing.”
“I want to be a really good high jumper, one of the best in the nation,” said Melu. “I don’t come here and do division 1 sports just to be decent. I want to be as good as I can. I think I’ve got the right coach to get me up there.”
Editor’s note: Melu did not qualify for Nationals at the WAC tournament.
Kevin may be reached at [email protected]