Though he is the reigning NCAA outdoor high-jump champion, junior Scott Sellers is not complacent. While Sellers wants to improve his jumps and defend his national championship, he has his sights set on making the Olympic team.
Qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, would be an impressive achievement for Sellers.
“That’s a dream accomplishment,” Sellers said.
Sellers will have a chance to make his dream come true when he competes in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which begin June 27 in Eugene, Ore. Sellers said if he competes like he knows he can, he thinks he has a good shot to make the team.
Track coach Cliff Rovelto also believes in Sellers’ talent. He said Sellers’ pure athletic ability is a major contributor to his success.
“He’s good. It’s really pretty simple,” Rovelto said. “Any athlete in any sport that is competing at a very high level – they’re really good. He’s good and that’s first and foremost.”
Senior captain Lamar Garrett said Sellers displays this talent as well as his understanding of the sport.
“He brings a lot of experience,” Garrett said. “He shows you that anything is possible.”
Like winning the national championship, qualifying for the Olympics will take more than just talent. Rovelto said Sellers puts in the work to perfect his jumps.
“He has outstanding work ethic, and he tries to do everything right – and that’s not always common with these guys and gals who are really good,” Rovelto said. “He is a professional in how he conducts himself. He stays healthy. You couldn’t train at a very high level if you are tired and broken down.”
While Rovelto credits Sellers’s talent and work ethic for all his success, Sellers said his coach has played a large role in his accomplishments.
“I just do what he tells me to do,” Sellers said. “He is just so educated on the biomechanics of the sport and when to peak just right.”
With the talent, work ethic and coaching Sellers has, he hopes that if he makes the Olympic team he can be successful.
“I’d like to think that I could go and make the finals, but I don’t know what to expect,” Sellers said.
If Sellers qualifies for the Olympics, he said a good showing would help accomplish another goal of his.
“It would be a really good stepping-stone into international competition,” Sellers said.
Sellers won the 2007 NCAA championship when he cleared a height of 7-7.25. He was named Big 12 Performer of the Year following his performance in the Big 12 meet. He said this was a huge accomplishment for him, and qualifying for the Olympics would be a comparable feat.
“They’re both equally meaningful,” Sellers said. “Winning the national championship puts your name in the record books as a national champion, but there is something about competing with the best from all over the world that would be great.”
While Sellers is aspiring to make the Olympic team, he has not lost focus on his collegiate competition. He said he is still highly motivated because he knows people want to knock off the national champion, and he wants to stay on top. He said it was also important to him to keep improving.
“The thing about high jumping is you can always jump higher,” Sellers said.