Alex Oleson Jumps to New SLU Record


Saint Louis University Athletics

Freshman high jumper Alex Oleson is a versatile athlete, stuttering with basketball and working into track and field.

Based on everything he has accomplished already in just his first year as a Billiken, it is hard to believe that freshman high-jumper Alex Oleson has been jumping for just over a year. Alex is a Political Science and Sociology major from Lenexa, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City.

Alex was mainly a basketball player growing up, starting in fourth grade and was able to dunk by seventh. In his freshman year of high school, he was approached by the track coach about joining the team, but he decided to focus on basketball because he was traveling so much for it. He was even considering playing basketball in college and found SLU while he was on a trip to St. Louis, visiting Maryville University for basketball. Alex made the decision to join the track team his senior year of high school. He stopped playing basketball during the spring because most people that age had already signed if they were going to play in college.

In his first track meet, Alex qualified for Kansas University Relays in high-jump, a meet held at KU for both Big 12 college teams as well as the top high schools in Kansas. Every meet following it, including the state meet, was easier mentally for Alex because he had the chance to compete against some of the best collegiate jumpers out there so early in his career.

Originally, Alex was looking to come to SLU as a regular student and wasn’t going to participate in intercollegiate athletics. His high school track coach convinced him to reach out to the SLU track coaches because he thought Alex’s jumps would be close to those of current SLU athletes.  He chose SLU despite the athletics because of the great academics, the location, and he felt that it was a “place that would set [him] up for what [he] wants to be.” He plans on going to law school to prepare for a career working with family law such as lobbying for social workers, a foster care worker or in juvenile law.

Since getting to St. Louis, he said, “My favorite thing about SLU is how friendly everyone is. Everyone is always walking and talking, and you always run into someone you know.”

Despite being somewhat new to the sport, Alex has already broken a school record in the high-jump. He narrowly broke the previous record of 1.99 m (approximately 6’5”) with a 2 m jump (approximately 6’6”). He said that he wasn’t very surprised when he broke the record because in practice, he had cleared up to 6’10”. “It all comes down to form,” said Alex. “I just do the things my coach tells me to get the job done.” Despite clearing 6’10” in practice, in order for it to be registered as a record, the jump must occur in competition.

As a freshman, Alex finished in ninth place in the A10 Conference, just one spot out of scoring for the Billikens. The final placement came down to misses, because a lot of jumpers in the conference go for the same height. In high-jump, each competitor gets three chances at each height before their final score is recorded. A goal he has set for himself is to “help [his] team by getting points in conference and to set [himself] up to score big points.”

Although high-jump is his only event, Alex sometimes wishes he could try other events in meets to pass the time in a long track meet. “If I didn’t jump,” said Alex, “I would probably want to try the 400 because the 4×400 relay is the most exciting event.” He then joked and said, “Actually, 400s are pretty bad, so pole vaulting would probably be fun.”

Alex’s favorite meet as a Billiken so far has been their trip to Rhode Island for the indoor conference championship meet because the team was given the chance to explore and go to the ocean, a big deal for the Kansas native. He also enjoyed competing against the other A10 schools because the track team tends to compete more locally rather than against only conference teams like most other sports.

The SLU track and field team has their only home meet of the season this weekend at the track on South Campus.