DBHS high jump coach sets the bar

Jillian+Schmidt+clears+a+height+in+the+high+jump+during+the+Rossi+Relays+at+Claremont+McKenna+College+in+Claremont+February+23%2C+2013.

Cal Poly Pomona

Jillian Schmidt clears a height in the high jump during the Rossi Relays at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont February 23, 2013.

Tess Guan , Web Editor

“Setting the bar high” now has a different meaning for Diamond Bar High School alumni and high jump coach Jillian Schmidt. With a current record of jumping over 5’10, Schmidt hopes to clear the Olympic trial height and compete in the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Despite her success as a track and field athlete, Schmidt didn’t begin participating in the sport until after high school; instead, she played soccer alongside Alex Morgan during her time at DBHS.

In hopes of making either the U.S. or Mexico Rio Olympics team, Schmidt is working toward obtaining citizenship in Mexico. Currently, the qualifying standard is 6’3. She also plans to compete in the World Championships for Mexico.

Schmidt began jumping in 2009 at East L.A. College after she was recruited by coach Louis Ramirez. She competed and won a gold medal in the Mt. SAC Relay meet, an annual track and field event held at the school’s campus, and remained undefeated for the rest of the year. She made it to the state championships, placed second, and was named an All-American athlete.

After receiving a full scholarship to Cal Poly Pomona, Schmidt dedicated herself to track and field. She became a heptathlete, competing in seven events: the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shotput, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run. She also participated in the 2013 NCAA Division II National Champions in heptathlon and high jump. After competing for three days at the event,  she became a two time All-American athlete, winning eighth place in the heptathlon and fourth place in high jump, with the height of 5’8.75.

In her first competition at Cal State Fullerton, Schmidt broke her left ankle, which she uses to take off for high jump, in her long jump event, forcing her to take a six month hiatus to heal. While she was recovering, she had another accident and injured her shins. Schmidt decided to take another four months off and then decided to quit jumping until she finished college.

Despite receiving a job at DBHS as the high jump coach, Schmidt didn’t consider jumping again. Little did she know, however, that her job actually pushed her high jump career further.

“I recently went through some personal problems and was very upset one day. I took out the high jump standards and set them up and figured I would give it a try to release some tension,” she said. “I think because I was upset about my personal problems, I cleared 5’10 and realized that I wasn’t that far for Olympic trial height.”

After clearing the new height, Schmidt decided she needed a coach to help her with her professional training, so she contacted Jamie Nieto, a two time U.S. Olympic high jumper. After attending one of his practices with seven other professional jumpers, she decided she wanted to pursue professional training.

“I instantly loved everyone on the team and started training with them everyday,” she said. “My new coach had workouts I’ve never seen before and I could feel myself getting faster, stronger, and better.”

Currently, Schmidt is training five hours each morning to hone her jumping. Along with her training, she manages her time with coaching the DBHS high jump team and her own gymnastics team.

“I work hard and I believe in myself that one day, I will stand amongst the best jumpers in the world.”