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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State track athlete Brady Palen high jumps into leadership role

Lee Frank
High jumper Brady Palen stretchs to start off track and field practice on Sept. 12.

Building off the momentum of past seasons, high jumper Brady Palen is ready to continue his track career — now as a junior.

In his sophomore indoor season, Palen high jumped in eight meets, placing top two in six meets and winning three. Then, he qualified and scored a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

“I kind of went into that with not a lot of expectations,” Palen said. “I just wanted to go and compete and ended up jumping a pretty good bar and kind of set some standards for the outdoor meet.”

Palen said the biggest thing he focused on from his freshman to sophomore year is being more comfortable around the team.

“I tried not worrying about a lot of the stuff that freshmen worry about, like social status and all of that, just kind of focusing on my workouts when I’m at track practice,” Palen said. “When you’re comfortable around the team, it’s a lot easier to do that.”

By the time the outdoor season of his freshman year came, he high jumped in nine collegiate meets and won four competitions. He also had a second place finish at the AAC Outdoor Championships and placed 18th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a jump of 6-foot, 11-inches. 

“That didn’t quite end up the way I wanted to, but I know that my best jumps have been coming in the indoor season, so I think I just need to get ready for the indoor season, and then I’ll be more conditioned for the outdoor season this year,” Palen said. 

The Beloit, Kansas, native said he was on a high after his sophomore indoor season. In the outdoor season, he said training was a little bit different, and the season was beginning to feel longer.

Palen said he “tweaked his knee” before making it to outdoor nationals the year prior.

“I had a few practices that were kind of a struggle both mentally and physically with my knee, but I went out there and gave it my all,” Palen said. 

With the fall season training underway, Palen said he’s grown into his leadership role and has been working on motivating his team. 

“I think last year’s success is definitely helping out,” Palen said. “I definitely feel like I have stepped up as a leader a little bit on the team.”

Palen said the track and field team has a lot of motivated players.

“There’s a lot of guys … (that) kind of keep their head down and just get to work,” Palen said, “And I promise them the results will come if you just stay focused and keep putting in the work.”

High jumper Brady Palen smiles for the camera on Sept. 12 during track and field practice. (Lee Frank)
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About the Contributors
Melanie Rivera-Cortez, Sports Editor
Lee Frank, Former photographer
Lee Frank was a photographer for The Sunflower.

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