Freshman Henry Brandstadter had an outstanding indoor track and field season. Brandstadter placed first in both the long jump (7.15 meters) and high jump (1.98 meters) at the 2023 University Athletic Association (UAA) Indoor Championships from Feb. 25-26. Additionally, he placed eighth in the long jump (7.10 meters) at the 2023 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships on March 1o.
As for the secret to his success? Changing his socks.
“One of my things I do is I have warm-up socks, and then I have competitive socks, but they’re the same pair of socks essentially,” Brandstadter said. “I just, I don’t know, I have to switch out my socks. Otherwise, I feel weird.”
Beyond superstitions, Emory track and field assistant coach Jessica Fritsche, who focuses on vertical and horizontal jumps, highlighted how Brandstadter’s work ethic is instrumental to his impressive accomplishments as an athlete.
“He wants to be successful, and he’s really gonna push us and do everything he needs to do,” Fritsche said. “… Just that drive he has … he doesn’t put a limit on what he can do.”
Brandstadter started track and field in middle school simply because all of his friends were on the team. During his high school career, Brandstadter made his talents known. He graduated Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Penn.) with MVP awards for indoor and outdoor track and also earned high school All-American status five times in the high jump. His success continued during his first collegiate season when he earned All-UAA and All-American honors and set a new Emory long jump record.
At the Birmingham-Southern Ice Breaker on Dec. 2, 2022, his first collegiate meet, Brandstadter broke the Emory indoor long jump record with a mark of 7.20 meters. Troy Thompson (97C), who set the school record of 7.18 meters in 1993, held the previous title. For Brandstadter, becoming a school record holder in his first meet as a college athlete was an unexpected, yet welcome, surprise.
“For indoor season, I had no idea what was going to happen,” Brandstadter said. “So, I was just kind of there. I was just jumping and running and all that, and I just happened to be doing very well.”
After breaking the Emory record for the first time, Brandstadter broke his own record at the Carolina Challenge on Jan. 20 with a jump of 7.21 meters. Just two weeks later, Brandstadter would blow that record out of the water, jumping an impressive 7.40 meters at the South Carolina Invitational on Feb. 3.
Going into his inaugural indoor season, Brandstadter’s goal was to qualify for the UAA Indoor Championship and walk away with a team UAA title. While Brandstadter became an individual UAA champion, the men’s track and field team fell just shy of a conference championship title, placing third.
First on Brandstadter’s bucket list for the 2023 outdoor season is a revenge tour at the UAA Championships where he hopes the Eagles can walk away with the title. During the indoor UAA Championships, Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.), Carnegie Mellon University (Penn.) and Emory scored 144, 140.33 and 136 points, respectively; only eight points separated the first and third placed teams.
“We were very close,” Brandstadter said. “… It’s a really tight race right now, and I’m excited to see how well we can do.”
Brandstadter’s prioritization of the team’s success before his individual success does not go unnoticed by his coaches.
“[He wants to] be able to win a conference championship as a team, but also as a national championship as a team,” Fritsche said. “He looks team-first too, and he wants to be able to be at nationals with his teammates and celebrate with them.”
As for his individual aspirations, Brandstadter said he is focused on improving his high jump marks.
“I got into nationals for my long jump, but I’ve always considered myself more of a high jumper,” Brandstadter said. “That’s always been my favorite event out of the two, so I personally have been gunning for seven feet in the high jump, which is 2.14 meters.”
Brandstadter and the rest of the men’s track and field team aim to win their sixth UAA Outdoor Championship title April 22 to 23 in Chicago, Ill. before heading to Rochester, N.Y., to compete in the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships May 26 to 28.
“He really wants to change the record books, not just at Emory, but in Division III,” Fritsche said. “He has the potential to do a lot.”
Sophia Lin-David (she/her) (24Ox) is from Boston, Massachusetts and plans to major in political science and strategy and management consulting across the College and Goizueta Business School. Outside of the Wheel, Sophia plays cello in the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and is an ambassador for the EmoryVotes initiative. Additionally, Sophia enjoys running outdoors and supporting the Boston Celtics.