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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Jumping to new heights

Lodge competes in the high jump (Photo by Rose O’Brien ’18).

Basketball player Markell Lodge tries his hand at track and field

Junior Markell Lodge has spent his three years on campus as a St. Joe’s basketball player, but this athlete has chosen to expand his horizons and join the track and field squad.

 Under basketball head coach Phil Martelli and track and field head coach Mike Glavin, Lodge is balancing two sports, along with his communication studies major. 

This season is Lodge’s first with the track team: he’s been competing in the high jump and the long jump, and he completed his first 100 m on April 21 in 11.56 seconds. According to Lodge, he’s wanted to run the 100 m, but had to wait for Martelli’s approval.

 Competing with the track and field squad will help Lodge’s athleticism come basketball season.

 “Track helps me by doing the high jump, and I get to build my speed up even faster,” Lodge said.

 Lodge competed in the high jump on his high school track team in Washington, North Carolina. In his collegiate track debut on March 31 at the Rider 5-Way Meet, he earned fourth in a field of nine in the high jump at 6’4 ¼” to help his team to a second place finish out of six competing teams. His collegiate debut in long jump was impressive as well, marking 17’ 10 3/4”.

Lodge earned a personal record in both the high and long jumps at 6’ 4 3/4” and 19’0”, respectively, at the Widener Invitational on April 21. He scored 4.5 points for the Hawks, with a fourth place high jump out of 27 athletes.  

 Despite having competed in only three meets, his potential is apparent to track and field assistant coach Teddy Meyers.

 “In the few weeks that I’ve known Markell, he’s shown his raw talent and fierce competitive nature,” Meyers said. “He is a dedicated athlete who is learning and honing his skills every week.”

 Lodge officially decided to try track and field after the end of the 2017-18 basketball season, in which the Hawks made it to the Atlantic 10 semifinals, where they fell to eventual runner up, Rhode Island University, 90-87. As a redshirt his freshman year during the 2014-15 season, he was able to hone his skills in practice as well as concentrate on the transition from high school to college academics.

 In the 2016-17 season, Lodge was the only player on the St. Joe’s men’s basketball team to start all 31 games. In his three seasons playing for the Hawks, he’s totaled 163 points. Martelli said that the growth he has shown in four years is apparent.

 “Markell came to us four years ago, and he was an introvert, at times felt like a fish out of water,” Martelli said. “To see him expand his horizons academically, socially and now athletically, I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Balancing basketball practice and track and field practices and meets along with school has proven difficult, according to Lodge.

 “You don’t really have free time when you have to manage a schedule like that,” Lodge said.

Lodge’s basketball workouts are scheduled around his track meets and practices, but ultimately, Martelli said academics come first for him.

 Despite the difficulty in scheduling, Lodge said his coaches have been supportive of his decision to take on another division I sport. Martelli, who has had just one basketball player take on another division I sport, is especially supportive of and impressed with Lodge’s ability to handle such a schedule. 

 “When this opportunity arose for Markell, I couldn’t be more supportive,” Martelli said. “I think it’s fabulous for him, the program and the student body to see that our guys are more than just basketball players.”

 For Lodge, the best part of being part of the track and field squad is collaborating with his teammates.

 “Seeing how my team does things and how I do things [is my favorite part of being on the team]” Lodge said. “We do things differently, but we come together and help each other out.”

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