Mikel Smith picked the right time to set a record.
Smith, a junior from Saint Martin’s University, cleared a career-best 7 feet, 1 inch in the high jump to capture the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships Friday. The four-time All-American is the only national champion in any sport for SMU.
“Winning nationals is a great feeling,” said Smith, who also broke school and Great Northwest Athletic Conference records with his jump. “I went out there and dared to be great and put my soul into each jump.”
Assistant coach Kyle Stevenson, who is Smith’s coach in the high jump, had an inkling that Smith was capable of doing something special.
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“I was more nervous than Mikel was today because I knew he was ready,” Stevenson said. “He has been real consistent in practice and through warmups throughout the day.”
Smith, who was ranked 18th entering the meet, passed on 6-6 3/4 and then cleared his next four jumps on his first attempt.
“Absolutely amazing,” said head coach Jim Brewer. “When he went over 7-1, I was pumped. Like Kyle, I knew he was ready as he went over 7-1 the day before in practice. This is a great moment for Saint Martin’s track and field.”