Whitley Stepps onto the Scene
Stepp (middle left) and teammates from Willamette Athletics Track Media Day
Stepp and High School Track Coaches. Photo Provided by Stepp
Whitley Stepp (‘26) has found herself in the top six of all time Willamette high jumpers reaching a distance of 1.62 meters or 5 feet and 3.75 inches. The first-year, who has just recently declared as a math major, shows major potential and already has her sights set on winning a conference championship. Along with her jumping success, she enjoys being on the track team and would love to see some fellow students at the upcoming meets. The Collegian got the chance to sit down with Stepp to see what she’s about.
Question: When did you start track and how did you get into jumping?
Stepp: I started in eighth grade when my friends forced me into it. I played basketball before and I was just better at jumping than the other events.
Question: What drew you to Willamette? Did you get recruited?
Stepp: I reached out the summer before my junior year and stayed in contact with Jacob Graham who’s the jumps and hurdles coach. I really liked the small size of the school and its close to Silverton where I live so I can go home. The team was so nice to me on my visit compared to other schools I visited.
Question: With your success here, would you ever consider moving up to a higher division school?
Stepp: No, definitely not. I really like it here. The girls on the team are great and the coaches have helped me a lot. They are open to your thoughts and feelings with training and understand if you need to take a break.
Question: Would you say that you have improved since being here in terms of your performance?
Stepp: I definitely have gotten better. Especially muscle wise. I have muscles now. We have worked on a lot of high jump techniques and I can notice a difference even confidence wise. High jump is very mental.
Question: What are your goals for the rest of your Willamette career?
Stepp: Lifetime goal is to jump 5 foot 8. This year my goal is to win the conference, just jump as high as I can.
The Willamette Invitational and the conference tournament will all be held at Willamette this spring, so there will be several opportunities to see Stepp and the whole track team.