Track & Field: Harvard getting driven athlete in Jaeschel Acheampong
Jaeschel Acheampong understands the value of practicing with teammates.
The senior standout for the Olentangy Orange boys track and field team and Harvard commit discovered that while working out on his own after the OHSAA initially postponed -- and later canceled -- all spring sports because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"At the moment, I have just been working out five times a week, doing some running and some endurance work," Acheampong said. "I have been trying to stay in tip-top shape for Harvard.
"I've found out that doing stuff alone is tougher than with a team. The 200 (meters) gets harder when doing it alone. It comes down to whether you want it or not. That drive has to be there."
Acheampong won the Division I state championship in the long jump last spring in 24 feet, 2 3/4 inches. As a sophomore, he placed ninth at state in 22-10 1/2.
Acheampong was primed to have another strong outdoor season this spring after winning the long jump (23-2 3/4) and placing second in the triple jump (40-1/2) and third in both the 60 (program-record 6.79 seconds) and 200 (program-record 21.62) in the Division I state indoor meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.
"Even with a heel bruise, Jaeschel won the indoor state (title) in the long jump, was second in the triple jump and was third in the 60 and 200, and both (running events) were indoor records for us," coach Adam Walters said. "He has been one of the most positive leaders we have ever had."
Acheampong scored 30 of the Pioneers' 42.5 points in the state indoor meet to lead them to the team championship. Thomas Worthington (37) was runner-up.
"The hardest thing about losing this (outdoor) season was we didn't get to show what we could do," Acheampong said. "From what we showed during the indoor season, we were one of the best. It would have been good to showcase what we had (in the outdoor season)."
According to Walters, Acheampong not only worked hard to make himself better, but also made his teammates better.
"Jaeschel has great attention to detail and he has a great ability to bring out the best in others," Walters said. "He wasn't just about himself.
"Our senior class was good because of the way he brought out the best in them. It's not often that your best, most gifted athlete helps out the No. 200 kid on the team. He helped the slowest kid on the team in the same manner as he did with the best."
Walters believes Acheampong will help Harvard, too.
"It will be incredible to watch what he can do," Walters said. "He will be a long-jumper, but he could also be a sprinter. He's ready for the next level."
In addition to the indoor records he set in the 60 and 200 this year, Acheampong owns the program's indoor marks in the long jump (23-6 3/4) and triple jump (47-4). He also holds the Pioneers' outdoor records in the 100 (10.78), long jump (24-5) and triple jump (47-10 1/2).
"Something that I have learned from coach Walters is to trust your coaches because they know what they are doing," Acheampong said. "You have to trust the process. You might not see the results at that moment, but a week later, it will all piece together."
Acheampong, who graduated with a 4.2 GPA, will major in either business management and finance or kinesiology and sports medicine at Harvard.
"It doesn't matter what you do," he said. "Don't do anything half-hearted. You always need to give 100 percent."