Saint Lucia’s University of South Carolina senior sensation, Jeannelle Scheper, has further extended her legacy as the finest jumper in Gamecocks history, with a record-setting performance at the 77th Florida Relays.
Competing Friday night at James G. Pressly Stadium’s Percy Beard Track in Gainesville, Florida, the 21-year-old St Joseph’s Convent alumna (22 in November) once again reset her school’s record books.
Scheper came into the weekend leading the National Collegiate Athletics Association Division 1, and fourth in the world in women’s high jump, matching her school record with a mark of 1.91m two weeks ago.
Unusually, she started jumping with everyone else at the opening height, 1.73m, which she sailed over. She had fist-time clearances at 1.78, 1.82 and 1.85, the final height for Maryland’s Thea Lafond.
Saint Lucia’s Scheper and Lafond, a Dominican, were joined in the competition by a third Caribbean woman, Jamaica’s Saniel Atkinson-Grier, who finished fourth, going out at 1.82m.
At 1.88, Scheper again cleared at the first attempt, whilst her Dominican counterpart failed on all three tries. The CARIFTA record holder moved the bar to 1.92m, to match her personal best.
She again cleared it on the first trial, tying the mark she had set herself in capturing Central American and Caribbean Track and Field Championships silver in Morelia, just under 18 months ago.
And it was the same story at 1.95 (6’4.75″) – a first time clearance, adding an inch and a half to her Gamecocks record and pushing her to the second-best mark in the world for 2015.
High jump and pole vault are unique, the only events that almost inevitably end in failure, and Jeannelle’s success came to an end after seven clearances, missing out on matching Levern Spencer’s National Record of 1.98m.
With the new personal-best height, Scheper has punched her ticket to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, where she will join Spencer, the only other qualifier so far.
This will be Scheper’s second time at the World Championships, but her more immediate goals will include preparing for an assault on the NCAA title. She would be the first Saint Lucian to achieve that feat.