Charles Town, West Virginia native junior Rhonda Rogombe, recently had a successful trip to Gainesville, Florida where she continued to climb the ladder toward the Rutgers women's track and field team's record in the high jump.
Just 0.01 meters shy from her own indoor high jump record, Rogombe continues to adjust her practices countlessly to perfect her form for the coming meets.
For Rogombe, her time as a Scarlet Knight has been a balanced amount of school and sport. Her mind has been focused on creating opportunities for herself in both fields. She redshirted her sophomore year with the idea of becoming a graduate student.
“I redshirted last season to stay at Rutgers, which I had planned for the past couple years," Rogombe said. "I am still waiting to hear back from graduate programs, but I wanted to utilize my time at Rutgers, while I have it.”
Rogombe captured the high jump title at the Florida Relays, and also at the last meet of the indoor season back in March. Only a few inches away from the school record, Rogombe was able to get second-highest jump in school history, and beat her previous record as third-highest.
“Beating the school record was not my primary goal,” Rogombe said. “Right now, we are working on getting the right thing at the right time, nothing too dramatic. Just controlling tempo, rhythm and time.”
While she has had much success with the Knights, she is more than just an athlete.
She is a School of Arts and Sciences junior working in the fields of economics, public policy and public health, while spending her free time studying obesity and health across the country.
Last summer, Rogombe was able to identify concerns related to obesity, income and life expectancy within the United States. She spent her summer with other students presenting options for administrative action to be taken with regards to these concerns.
Rogombe said that this experience provided her with a better understanding about communities and their interactions with people and health. It also gave perspective to some of the things that she and other people witness on a daily basis.
But, her research does not solely make up her time spent as a student of Rutgers. While on the track team she has been able to make connections with other student athletes, as well as open doors for her future.
“I have learned valuable lessons around teamwork and large groups,” Rogombe said. “I have also been able to express myself and find confidence, while being on the track team.”
As an eloquent student, Rogombe sets a high standard for what it means to be a student athlete. She is dedicated to school and track. While she only has one full year left, she continues to set high standards for herself.
Rogombe does not look behind her — she simply focuses on her future and what she can do to conquer her goals, then proceeds to tackle them head on.
“As an athlete I look to get better every day, with such an awesome opportunity,” Rogombe said. “As a student, I want to grow more, while I continue to study things that I’m interested in. I also want to grow as a person for the remainder of my time at Rutgers.”
While she already holds the school record for indoor high jump, which is higher than the outdoor record, it is still a matter of mental and physical cohesiveness that will allow her to conquer that jump. Breaking the school record isn’t even her main focus, though — she is all about progressing and continuing to get better on her ride as a Knight.
“Every single day it is about managing your time in order to succeed," Rogombe said. "Being here has opened so many doors. I have been able to meet cool people, feel unique and even being here at Rutgers was such a great opportunity.”
This Friday and Saturday, she and the rest of the team will head down Route 1 to Princeton, New Jersey for the Princeton Invitational, where she can take another crack at tearing down the school record, where she can potentially replace it with her name: Rhonda Rogombe.
For updates on the Rutgers women's track and field team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.