Mitch Jacobson is taking his talents to a new height.
The Walla Walla High School senior, who won the Class 4A state high jump title in May at 6 feet, 10 inches, signed Tuesday night to compete in track and field for Washington State University.
“I am super excited,” Jacobson said. “It will be a fun experience. This is my senior year, and I have to finish it off on a good note.”
WSU is offering Jacobson a partial scholarship, but there are incentives to add to the scholarships with top performances.
“They base it off marks,” Jacobson said. “If I do well my senior year, I could get more. As you do better, you get more.”
Jacobson holds the Walla Walla high jump record at 6-10. He is closing in on the school records for the long jump (23-3 1/4) and triple jump (46-4 1/2), both of which are held by 2004 graduate David Ridenour.
“We’ve had four kids in the past two years get track scholarships,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said. “To go Division I before you are out of high school is outstanding. They must see an awful lot of potential in him to offer such a tremendous deal.”
Jacobson is following in the footsteps of his aunt, Lucita Zapata, who ran the 100-meter hurdles at WSU from 1997-2000. She twice advanced to the Pac-10 championships.
The 6-4 Jacobson has come a long way in track since his freshman year, when he topped out at 5-10 in the high jump, 19-1 in the long jump and 39-3 in the triple jump.
Last season, he hit a personal best of 44-9 3/4 in the triple jump at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays on April 29, and a PR in the long jump (22-2 3/4) at regionals May 21.
While Jacobson soared to a state high jump title, he finished ninth in both horizontal jumps. He was way off his best in the long jump, but he went 44-1 1/4 in the triple jump, finishing a quarter-inch off the podium.
“I was bummed,” Jacobson said. “I really thought that would place. It just makes me more ready for this year.”
Jacobson has 7 feet in his sights for the high jump. That would put the bar 8 inches over his head.
“It’s weird when you look at something taller than you, and then you jump over it,” he said. “I don’t think about it while I’m doing it. It’s a challenge. You don’t even realize where you are at.”
While he will compete in all three jumps in the spring for Wa-Hi, Jacobson isn’t sure what WSU has in store for him.
“I’ve been working really hard, and I want to win all three at state and have a fun senior year,” Jacobson said. “It would be a variety if I did all three at WSU, but we haven’t talked about that yet.”
Arizona State, Texas Tech and the University of Washington also showed interest in Jacobson, but he said he felt comfortable with WSU jumps coach Brad Walker, a two-time Olympian in the pole vault.
“He is an inspiring coach,” Jacobson said. “I clicked with him right away.”