Michael Lee of men’s track and field takes best jumper title
Edgar Ayala – Sports Editor
Southern’s best triple jumper in track and field history, Michael Lee, evolved into something he never expected to be. He is the undisputed and undeniable all-time best jumper in program history.
“I can feel comfortable saying it now,” said the redshirt senior. “After my four years, I believe when I say that I am the best jumper, and that’s a great honor.”
The three-time All-American triple jumper from New London, Conn. set the all-time school record in the men’s triple jump (15.87 meters) at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship.
He now holds both the men’s long and triple jump record for the Owls.
Head track and field coach, John Wallin, said there was no doubt in his mind that he was looking at the best jumper the program has ever laid eyes on.
“Absolutely,” said Wallin, “he’s the best all-around jumper Southern’s ever had for sure. We had some great ones, but Mike’s the real deal.”
In addition, Wallin said that an athlete like Lee is hard to come by. As he noted the talented, dedication, heart and passion Lee had for track and field is something coaches do not find very often in players.
However, Wallin did state he would be searching the New England area for athletes that possess the same qualities Lee did.
“He had all the things necessary to be successful,” said Wallin. “He had enough talent to be really good. He had the great work ethic of a champion. The mind of a champion. The passion of a great athlete. He had all the variables that are so necessary to become a successful athlete. He’s just got it all.”
And Lee indeed does it all, as track was never in Lee’s future. He played basketball for the majority of his life, and had sights to play basketball in college.
It wasn’t until his junior year in high school that he noticed track was more than just something he did in the offseason to stay in shape for basketball season.
“My senior year of high school I decided to do indoor track instead of basketball,” Lee said, “which ultimately helped me in recruiting. I still love basketball, but my love for track is beyond anything now.”
When Lee decided to do track over basketball, he said track made him bring his personality out. He added that he is always motivating his teammates to do better and always attending SCSU sporting events to cheer on other programs.
Track and field teammate, Dieter Gutbrod, said Lee always brings life to the team due to his big personality.
“I really admire the energy that he brings to every meet and practice,” he said. “Mike has this way of getting you excited and hyped for any and everything.”
Even Coach Wallin said that his nickname in practice is “Hype Lee” due to him always being excited.
“He trains hard. He lifts hard. He runs hard. Everything we do in practice he goes 100 percent,” Wallin said. “He was just so easy to coach because he was a great listener.”
Coupled with being a great listener, Lee said he wants to be remembered as a great player who always gave his full performance and effort in everything that he did.
“I work hard for my results so I always want to be known for that.” Lee said. “I came in, and I didn’t just want to be this name on a roster. I wanted people to remember who I was. I just hope that my name is never forgotten after my career at Southern.”
Lee’s last meet for the Owls will be the NCAA Outdoor Championships beginning on May 26. In that meet, Lee will have one last shot at his ultimate goal— being a national champion.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications