Jimmies' Chadduck having early success as high jumper

May 8—JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown's Stephanie Chadduck has leaped her way into the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.

The high jumper is the first Jimmies freshman to make it to the NAIA National Championships since Jordyn Toliver in 2021.

This year, Chadduck has participated in four different events, compiling two first-place finishes, one second-place finish and a seventh-place finish. On Saturday, May 4, Chadduck finished second in the high jump in the GPAC Championships with a leap of 1.65 meters.

Chadduck got the win in her first-ever collegiate event on April 6 at the USD Early Bird meet with a leap of 1.65 meters. Her leaps at that event and the GPAC Championships are her personal bests. It also puts her into a six-way tie for third-highest mark in the GPAC this season.

"It was really cool," Chadduck said. "I remember last year that was my goal actually. We had to set goals and my goal was to do this as a freshman and I didn't really think it would happen. But it ended up happening which was really cool because I hadn't actually PR'd (personal record) in high jump for two years in high school and I came here and I was like, 'I don't even care if I go to nationals. I just want to PR.' The day that I PR'd I hit the national qualifying mark."

Before she leaped over the bar at 1.65 meters, Chadduck said she got a confidence boost from UJ jumps coach Connor Salisbury. Chadduck said reaching her personal best mark gave her confidence throughout the rest of her season.

She said she has grown this season by being able to move past mistakes and responding to them. She said she works to get out of her own head and figure out a way to succeed after she makes a mistake.

"I would say I'm a third jumper, which means I always normally get it on my third jump which is really hard because normally people are mentally like, 'I'm done, I'm already on my third this is my last one,'" Chadduck said. "For me when I'm on my third, I'm like, 'Yeah this is my last one, I'm gonna get it on this one.' So that's probably my biggest strength and skill is that I can mentally be like, 'No, this is your last chance, you gotta do it and not shut down after I miss it."

Chadduck is also a member of the Jimmies women's basketball junior varsity team. Chadduck said playing basketball also has helped with her ability to bounce back from mistakes.

After wrapping up the GPAC Championships on Saturday, Chadduck has 18 days off before the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Before she goes to the national event, Chadduck said she is alone in her dorm as she spends the next three weeks working out and preparing.

"I know it's worth it and it's a dream that I've had so I'm toughing it out and being thankful that I'm here," Chadduck said.

Chadduck said her expectation for the national championships is to set a new personal record with a leap of 5 feet, 6 inches. Since she has three years left of eligibility left, Chadduck said she believes making it to the national championships this year will help her make it in future years.

"I think it really just helps me know that it's doable, and when you have a goal, it's actually reachable even though it seems like it could be very unattainable if you don't do it, you can do it," Chadduck said. "So I think it's gonna help me with confidence too because I think confidence is a big part of that. That's something I didn't have very much of. So I think it's gonna help with that and know that I can keep excelling."

Before the national championships, Chadduck said she wants to continue to work on her confidence and making sure all of her techniques are squared away.

Chadduck is one of three Jimmies athletes who qualified for the NAIA National Championships alongside Jorden Morales in the discus throw and Dawson Sedevic in the hammer throw.

The Spokane, Washington, native, said she chose the University of Jamestown because of its small-town feel.

"I came on a visit here and I just really liked how it was a smaller community," Chadduck said. "The school that I went to in high school was a very small rural farm school even though I lived in the city and I came on my visit here and it just felt very like that. Everyone was very kind, it was kind of like having a family at the school because it was so small and community too."

During her time in high school, Chadduck started as a cross-country runner but transitioned into the long jump after getting advice from a friend. Chadduck said she and her father, Robert Chadduck, who served as a defacto jumps coach at her high school, watched Olympian high jumpers on YouTube to help her learn the sport.