Ellenson leaps to gold at Pan-Am Games

Wally Ellenson cleared 2.16 meters -- more than seven feet -- to win the gold medal.

Jace Frederick

Gophers sophomore high jumper Wally Ellenson hopes to jump in the Olympics one day. He took a step in the right direction toward that goal Sunday.

Ellenson won gold in the high jump at the Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia. He cleared 2.16 meters, just over seven feet, on his first attempt to win the event. 

“Blessed to be the best Under-19 in the western world! Gold at Pan-Am,” Ellenson tweeted from his Twitter account Sunday.

Ellenson, who’s also a guard on the Gophers basketball team, finished eighth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he cleared 2.20 meters.

The Rice Lake, Wis. native has previously said he hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the high jump.

The Pan American Junior Championships consist of athletes between the ages of 16-19 from North America and South America.