Henry Baldwin is a senior from Chicago. He is majoring in English, and he is a three-time Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) champion. I sat down with him to figure out how he is able to jump so high — and why.
Claire Tobin: How did you get into track and field?
Henry Baldwin: My main sport in high school was basketball and I had been on an [Amateur Athletic Union] team before I switched to track and field. I didn’t like AAU basketball as a system, so I quit the team. I initially thought I was going to be a sprinter, but the coach just took a look at me and had me do high jump. High jumpers have a look. I didn’t choose it, it chose me.
CT: How do you jump so high?
HB: I always knew I could jump high. I first dunked a basketball when I was in eighth grade. When I came to Colorado College, I could only jump six feet, so it’s been a lot of practice and work in the weight room, and some natural talent.
CT: Why do you jump so high?
HB: Well, if you want to get into the physics of it, I jump so high because I run fast towards the bar and I lean into that turn and I plant my foot on an angle with a lot of pounds of force, and I spring up. That’s how the magic happens.
CT: Do you have any goals for the season?
HB: First and foremost, I want the team to do well. In terms of myself, I want to win SCAC for the fourth year, jump over seven feet, I want to be at Nationals, I want to be an All-American, and I want to win every single meet.
CT: Do you have any special pre-meet fuels? Some sources say you eat frog legs to get some extra height.
HB: I drink a Starbucks iced coffee before a meet, but other than that, I don’t eat a lot. I try to stay light. The night before a track meet, I watch a full high jump meet on YouTube and I also watch Derrick Rose highlights. The morning of the meet, I listen to loud and aggressive rock music. But when I step foot in the stadium, I listen to Daft Punk exclusively.
CT: What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
HB: I play the piano and harmonica.
CT: Is there something about the track team you think people should know?
HB: Um, that we are a varsity sport. I’m not sure how many people look at the track team and whisper to each other, “Oh look, that’s the track team.” I don’t think we are all that intimidating, but that’s a good thing. I think it’s a fun, supportive group of people.