NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS EDITOR
Looking at second-year Breya Christopher and all of her accolades, one would think that she is a natural jumper that has been coached since she started. Her story is much deeper than that though. She has gone through trials and tribulations that all athletes can relate to.
“I always ran 400 and 800 (meters) in high school and just did high jump on the side and never really got coached in it. I wasn’t really in love with track because I didn’t really like running, but I was good at jumping and I got to do that on the side. I fell in love with it in my freshman year of high school because I jumped five foot six inches without any coaching. I thought to myself, ‘OK maybe this is something I should keep doing.’ In my junior year, I actually tried to quit track because of so many injuries from running that were affecting my jumping. I took like a two-week break and then I came back and my coach only let me jump for the last part of my junior year and then all of my senior year,” Christopher said.
These are all things that someone would not expect from a nationally ranked high-jumper. These things are what have helped shape who Christopher has become. She has been described as a hard-worker with lofty goals that no one that knows her wouldn’t doubt her achieving.
“She had really high goals when she came in. One of our goals was to be an eight-time all-American in the high jump. Unfortunately, we’ve had our last three national meets cancelled so she has not had the opportunity to complete that yet,” Nick Kohl, Wartburg’s jumping coach, said.
Christopher was not always looking at Wartburg to compete and attend school. With her great marks that she set in high school, Wartburg was by far not the only school looking at her.
“My senior year of high school I started getting all these letters from different schools. I really couldn’t tell you why I picked up the Wartburg one. Maybe it was because it was close to home, but I picked that one up. I looked up the coaching staff and I saw coach Newsom. I read up on his background and I was just intrigued by reading his background. I filled out an application and reached back out to them and came on a visit. I not only fell in love with the team atmosphere but the coaching staff,” Christopher said.
“When I first started in high school looking at her marks and stuff I mean her marks were really good. She was instantly somebody that was on our radar and then we pursued her to get her to come to Wartburg,” Kohl said.
All of these things could not have been done without a strong support base around her. Fourth-year jumper, Ellie Roquet, has been one of the main people that has been supporting her throughout her time here. Although their relationship is very mutual now, it was not always that way.
“So when Breya came in as a freshman and I was a junior we started working together right away in the fall. During preseason right away, I said, you know Breya you’re going to do really good things here and like I know it’s going to be hard for me because I want to do all those great things as well and you’re going to skyrocket through those. The first few meets were kind of hard on me for sure, because she was doing all these great things right away. After I got settled in my position of like okay I’m her number one fan, and I have to guide her through how to do all these things,” Roquet said.
Christopher has unfortunately been unable to complete her main goal of being an eight-time all-American due to COVID-19. Her freshman year was cut short due to the season being cancelled before the indoor season could get finished. If all goes well though, the spring season will commence and she will have the opportunity to be labeled as one of the best high-jumpers in the nation.
“I’m excited to finally train outside. I feel like we’ve been trapped in the field house for two years. It’s going to feel like a whole new ballgame you know I’ve jumped outside but it’s been years,” Christopher said.
Even though it has been over two years since Christopher had last jumped competitively outdoors, she will be as ready as ever to prove herself to the rest of the nation like she has shown her team.