‘Prepare, believe, succeed’
For University of Regina high jumper Megan Rumpel, jumping 20 centimetres higher than her height has not only become possible, but an obsession.
Although high jump may seem like an unlikely event to become obsessed with, for Rumpel, her mild interest in high jump quickly grew into a love for the sport.
“In elementary school, I looked forward to the track meet at the end of each year,” Rumpel said. “High jump was always the event I got the most excited about competing in and it seemed to come naturally to me, so ever since then it has been a passion of mine.”
That passion didn’t come without some rather unique superstitions, but with high jump numbers like she has been posting, Rumpel better not stop now.
“In high school, I couldn’t jump without these vintage knee-high socks with our
school’s team name on them, but once I came to the U of R I ditched the socks to better represent the Cougars,” Rumpel said. “Other then that, I have a rubber bracelet that says, ‘Prepare, believe, succeed,’ on it that I have wore since high school.
“I wear it to remind me before every jump to ask myself, ‘Have I prepared for this moment?’ ‘Do I believe I can make it?’ And if I can answer ‘yes’ to both of those things, then I know I can succeed.”
After placing first in high jump at the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) track and field championships in June 2010 – yes, she was wearing the socks – Rumpel quickly caught the attention of U of R track and field head coach Bruce McCannel.
Although the SHSAA championships were cancelled in her Grade 12 year, Rumpel had already proven that she was capable of competing at the next level.
“In Grade 12, I really had no idea which university I wanted to go to, but when my coach, Bruce McCannel, contacted me with interest in me competing for the Cougars, it was a perfect match,” said Rumpel, who also placed second in long jump and third in triple jump in 2010.
“The University of Regina has a well-respected education program, the track and field coaches are all really experienced and respected as well, and two of my friends from high school track, veteran Ian McLellen, and rookie Dustin Steininger, are both on the team, so they helped influence my decision. Ian was a great advocate of the team, and it was nice to know I would have Dustin as a fellow rookie.”
The transition from high school to university can often be a daunting task for student-athletes, but Rumpel has managed to take the change in stride.
“Adjusting to the university life was pretty easy with the help of the team,” Rumpel said. “The vets are all really helpful if any of the rookies need books or advice about classes.
“For me personally, veterans Sarah Bauck and Julie White have been positive influences, because they took me under their wings right away and made me feel comfortable. My high jump coach, Rick Gelsinger, has also helped a lot with the adjustment into a higher caliber of athletics.”
While Rumpel has a long high jump career ahead of her at the U of R, she plans to make the most of it as soon as possible.
“My goal regarding school is simply to be an academic all-Canadian this year and in the years to come,” she said. “My main goal for high jump is to qualify for CIS in March. I also have a goal to beat the current team record of 1.71 meters by jumping 1.75 meters.”
The next chance fans will have to see Rumpel and the rest of the track and field team in action is Jan. 20, when the team travels to Edmonton to compete in the Golden Bear Open.