EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – When the NCAA Track and Field Championships get underway on Wednesday in Austin, Texas, five UTEP athletes will be there running, jumping and throwing for gold.
One of them is sophomore high jumper Jakub Belik. A native of the Czech Republic, Belik jumped over seven feet at the NCAA West Regionals two weeks ago to finish in fourth place and qualify for the national meet.
He is the first UTEP male high jumper since Mickael Hanany won the 2008 NCAA national championship to qualify for the NCAA national meet.
“I think if everything goes together, I think I can jump 2.20 meters. If everything goes right, I could make the podium so we’ll see,” Belik said.
Belik’s personal best is a 2.16m (7-1) at the Conference USA Championships where he won gold on May 13. He also claimed gold at the C-USA indoor Championships (2.14m).
Belik produced a solid outdoor season, winning his first three high jump events (Willie Williams, New Mexico Spring Invitational, Bryan Clay), while finishing second at the Desert Heat Classic. Belik improved each leap as he went from 2.10m (6-10.75) in his first outdoor meet of the season to a 2.16 at the conference championships.
He will be joined at nationals by fellow Miners Victor Kibiego (3000m steeplechase), Arianne Morais (javelin), Marissa Simpson (100m H), and Roosa Yloenen (javelin) at the 2023 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field National Championships hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on June 7-10.
El Paso natives Grant Levesque (Rice, decathlon), a Coronado graduate and Omajuwa Etiwe (Texas A&M, 4x400m relay), a Franklin graduate will also be in action this week in Austin.