JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - We’re 4 days away from Arkansas State track and field stepping on the national stage. I caught up with Carter Shell. The sophomore is well on his way to rewriting the Red Wolves record book.
Carter Shell has worn the scarlet and black for just 2 years but he continues to achieve what takes some college athletes an entire career. Two seasons in the long jump, two straight tickets to the NCAA Track & Field Championships.
“First year, I didn’t really expect to get to the NCAA because I was a freshman coming in out of high school, 2A,” Shell said. “And getting there really exposed how they jump just like me. Just getting back this year, completing my goals again is just an honor really.”
The last Red Wolf to appear in the NCAAs as a freshman and a sophomore was Roelf Pienaar. He ended up as a 6 time All-American. Shell is already being compared to the South African, and head coach Dr. Jim Patchell is using the same training plan for Carter that helped Roelf finish national runner up in 2016.
“Yeah, just seeing him, you wouldn’t think he’s a jumper,” Shell said. “But when I first saw him jump that’s when I knew that yeah, that’s big bro, I want to follow in his footsteps.”
Dr. Patchell added: “He hasn’t jumped quite as far as Roelf has, but he’s got the talent to do that. He’s probably a year or two away from that. I think by the time he’s a junior or senior, he can be pushing that school record. Last year he got in in the 12th spot, so he barely got in there. This year he finished 9th so finished a little higher, so he’s a little bit ahead of the game. Strength wise, he’s really made an improvement and that’s showed in his jumping.”
Like many athletes, the Georgia native took to track from another sport.
“I first started playing basketball, so I knew I was really fast and all that going down the court. I was like, let me run track. So I started around 6th grade, and ever since then I’ve been running.”
Carter Shell competes Wednesday, June 5th in the NCAA long jump final. Watch him at 8:00pm on ESPN3.