Leaping to New Heights

Published: Jul 25, 2003

Leaping to New Heights

In June, senior jumper Huguens Jean became the third Retriever to earn Division I All-American honors.

The powerfully built Jean, on course to earn a degree in computer engineering next spring, literally leaped to new heights during his spectacular athletic career at UMBC. Jean is the second Retriever track and field athlete to earn All-American honors in two years (the other is Cleopatra Borel), after placing fourth in the nation at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the high jump this past June. Standing just 6’, his effort of 7’ 3¼” broke his own school record by two inches.

“I feel like I am just getting started in the sport,” Jean said.  “My ultimate goal is to win a medal in the Olympic Games.  I never would have thought that any of this was possible before coming to UMBC.”

Jean collected numerous accolades this past year. Last January, he competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas and finished 10th in the nation in the high jump, coming up just shy of earning All-American status.  He dominated the competition in the Northeast Conference and was named the NEC’s Most Outstanding Field Performer at both the Indoor and Outdoor Championships after sweeping the high jump and the triple jump events.

In April, Jean sent a clear message to high jumpers around the nation by winning the event at the highly prestigious Penn Relay Games, thus pronouncing himself ready to compete against America’s elite at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

“I was more prepared for the NCAA Outdoor Championships and much more confident,” Jean admitted. “The NCAA Indoor Championships was a brand new experience and I felt like I had to rush to get ready for the event because I had qualified only a week before.”

Success for Jean, who was named UMBC’s 2002-03 Athlete of the Year, is not limited to his athletic prowess. He excels in the classroom, earning a 3.29 GPA in computer engineering. His achievements landed him a spot on the Verizon Academic All District II Second Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this past year, after earning First Team honors in 2001-02. Jean, who would eventually like to run his own company, is considering attending graduate school for business management after he graduates from UMBC.

One of the most recognizable student leaders on campus, Jean is an extremely active member of campus society and student government. He has served as vice president of the Engineering Council of Majors and is a member of the Presidents’ Council for Athletic Awareness. Jean has also been a dormitory resident assistant, and has tutored students in numerous courses. 

“UMBC has given me so much,” said Jean.  “It is only right that I give back and help others as much as I possibly can.”




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