Wells confident heading into NCAA high jump final


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Jonathan Wells isn’t looking for recognition.

“They don’t know anything about me now but they might find out in the future,” the Illinois track and field standout said.

The Illini high jumper is making a name for himself though. Wells won the Big Ten outdoor high jump championship last month, clearing 7-foot-5, setting a new school record. It put his name on the map nationally, as the third best jump in the country this season, but the mental edge is what’s helping him most.

“I’m a huge believer that high jump is a huge mental event,” Wells said. “There is a huge mental barrier there and you have to be confident in your training and ability and attempt it.”

Wells tied for ninth in last year’s NCAA finals. In the time since, he’s improved his personal record by more than five inches.

“Coming back here (NCAA Championships) and trusting my trainers that got me to a level that I wasn’t able to take more than one jump last year,” the Fox Lake native said. “Then coming into this year we had this confidence, we know we can come in at seven feet and so we built off of that.” 

“He’s got a bank account full of experience and he’s gained a lot of valuable experience,” Illinois head coach Mike Turk said. “I think he’s just a different competitor. He’s always very competitive and a great competitor but I think he just knows how to deal with it and expect things a little bit different.”

“I’m not first going in,” Wells added. “But I want to be first coming out.”

Wells is one of two Illini still in the running to win a national championship. Senior Dave Kendziera will also compete on Friday, here’s the schedule:

Illinois Friday Events:

7 p.m. – High Jump Final

8:12 p.m. – 110m Hurdles Final

8:57 p.m. – 400m Hurdles Final

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