Wolfrum runs his way to Duquesne
Markedly improved time in 300 hurdles to land with Dukes
Butler's Jake Wolfrum burst onto the scene this spring in the 300-meter hurdles, improving his time by nearly four seconds. He parlayed that into a spot on the Duquesne men's track and field team.
BUTLER EAGLE FILE PHOTO
BUTLER TWP — Once Jake Wolfrum discovered some inspiration, he took off.
The 2018 Butler graduate plans to keep on going once he arrives at Duquesne University, where he will major in education and compete on the Dukes' track and field team.
Wolfrum showed his versatility at Butler by competing in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles, 400 meters, 4x100 and 4x400 relays. He broke the school record by running the 300 hurdles in 38.52 seconds.
“That was crazy,” Wolfrum said. “Coming into this year, my best time was 42.3 seconds. The 10th best time in school history was 40.8.
“All I wanted to do was crack the top 10. Once I did that, I wanted more.”
Golden Tornado boys track coach Rick Schontz said he wishes the 2018 track season “went one more month because Jake kept getting better and better with each meet down the stretch.
“You don't see many hurdlers running the 4x400 relay, but he ran a split of 48 seconds in that event. We ran Jake in the 400 against North Allegheny and he won that event for us.”
Wolfrum figured he'd be competing in track at Slippery Rock University. Once he climbed Butler's all-time charts in the hurdles, he decided to look Division I.
“My goal was always to run Division I,” he said. “I got aggressive in marketing myself online to different schools and Duquesne was the first D-I school to get back to me.
“I've always loved the campus and the program down there. Once they called and I visited ... I looked at a few other schools, but I don't even recall them now. Duquesne was it for me.”
The Dukes' men's track team placed fourth in the Atlantic 10 Championships this year. Jim Lear is in his fifth year as head coach at Duquesne and Brian Reed is the hurdles coach.
Recently moving over from Pitt, where he was a volunteer coach, Reed helped Pitt athletes post four national records and 13 NCAA All-American spots.
“My eye is on the 400 hurdles record there,” Wolfrum said. “Breaking a record in high school and having my name leave a mark like that there was important to me.
“I want to do the same in college.”
Schontz is confident he will do just that.
“We've sent a number of track and field athletes to Duquesne and they've all done well, had good careers there,” Schontz said. “I have little doubt Jake will do the same. He's very driven right now.”
Wolfrum becomes the third senior from Butler's 2018 track and field team to go Division I, joining distance runners Noah Beveridge (Syracuse) and Maggie Welty (Penn State).
While the Dukes return only two hurdlers from last season, Wolfrum said a number of top WPIAL athletes from this past season were recruited by Duquesne.
“It's a good class and we'll all be competing with each other,” he said. “I feel like I can compete right away. My goal is to at least get on the 4x400 relay as a freshman.”
Wolfrum carried a 3.5 grade point average in high school. He hopes to one day become a teacher for grades 4-8 and contribute as a coach as well.
“My sprint coach in high school, Fred Pinto, ran track at Butler, came back and coached us. He was very inspiring to me,” Wolfrum said. “He had a big influence on me.
“We made the (WPIAL) team playoffs this year for the first time in four years. That was so much fun. We finished second in the WPIAL. Coach Pinto was very helpful there. Someday, what he did ... That's what I want to do.”