Two-sport athletes are often forced to choose at some point in their collegiate careers.
In college basketball, football is usually the other sport that’s the object of players’ dilemmas.
Minnesota’s Wally Ellenson might face that predicament in the future, as the sophomore is a standout in track and field.
The NCAA All-American high jumper cleared the 7-1 mark to win the gold medal at the Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia earlier this week.
In his first international track and field competition, Minnesota sophomore Wally Ellenson captured gold on Sunday in the high jump at the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia.
The Rice Lake, Wis., All-American cleared 2.16 meters (7-1 ft.) on his first attempt of the day and never looked back as torrential downpours rained down on Alfonso Galvis Duque Stadium.
"It's surreal," Ellenson said. "(Winning a gold medal) was the goal throughout the whole competition, and I'm just thankful I was able to do it."
Ellenson contributed one of 16 gold medals for the U.S. team, which led all competing nations with a total of 39 medals at the 17th Pan American Junior Championships.
Ellenson, who averaged 2.0 PPG with the Gophers last season, wants to compete in the 2016 Olympics. And this achievement in Colombia certainly legitimizes the 6-4 guard’s goal.
In May, however, Ellenson told the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.), that his competitors were more technically sound than he was following the 2012-13 season. Plus, he’s more comfortable off the court.
"They are two completely different sports, but I'm more confident in this one," said Ellenson, a freshman from Rice Lake, Wis.
The balance between basketball and track didn’t stop Ellenson from reaching the NCAA track and field championships (finished in a tie for eighth). But Richard Pitino’s young wing might focus his energies on one sport in the future, especially if the move is necessary to boost his chances of reaching the 2016 Olympics.