Derek Mackel will begin his sixth season as an assistant track & field coach at North Texas after a three-year stint in at the University of New Mexico. Mackel works primarily with the pole vaulters, long jumpers, triple jumpers, high jumpers and multi event athletes.
Highlights from Mackel’s athletes during the 2015 season:
Junior Mona Landry stole the show at the Texas A&M 13 team invitational wining the long jump and scoring 10 team points with a huge indoor personal best of 5.90m (19’4.25”) earning the #4 spot behind UNT greats Donna Thomas, Brandy Stanfield, and Ashley Austin. Later, while in front of her home town of Houston, Mona matched her PR in the 60m dash set in 2014, and then at the CUSA championship broke it with an effort of 7.64 seconds to cover the 60m distance. Battling knee pain through much of the 2015 season Mona set a life time best in the 100m dash of 11.67 seconds, and leapt out past 20 feet matching her 2014 best during her junior year outdoor campaign. These marks would hold throughout the season and see her qualify to the NCAA preliminary round in two individual events the 100m dash and the long jump.
After redshirting the 2014 season, 2015 would see the return of UNT All-American senior Shahaf Bareni. North Texas’s No. 1 all-time high jumper and only female over six-foot. Shahaf and Mackel traversed the 2015 season with the goal of returning to the NCAA finals and another bid at All-American. Matching her school record of 1.79m (5’10.5”) and outpacing the competition, Shahaf wrapped herself in gold and a first team all-conference performance at the CUSA indoor championship. Shahaf punched her ticket to nationals early during the outdoor season jumping 1.81m (5’11.25”) at the Texas relays. Keeping their eyes on the goal of returning to the NCAA finals another great opportunity came to pass at the John Jacobs invitational. Unfortunately, while attempting a new school record of 1.84m (6’0.5”) she suffered an injury to her takeoff foot. Always the team player and determined to meet her goal Shahaf would battle through the pain to help the team at the conference championship tying for third and earning a valuable 5 points for the team. Flying the Mean Green colors at the NCAA prelims Shahaf bravely fight through to the bitter end, she had put herself in good position with only 1 miss going into the deciding bar of 1.78m. The cards stacked against her, unfortunately the height proved to be insurmountable.
Perhaps the greatest improvement from the jumps group during the 2015 season came from sophomore triple jumper sophomore Jazmine Martin who kicked off her 2015 season with a leap of 11.92m (39’1.25”) indoors taking her all the way up to No. 4 all-time improving upon her 2014 best of 11.31m (37’1.25”) by 2 feet. Little did we know Jazmine wasn’t done, saving her best performance of the 2015 outdoor season for when it mattered most. Jazmine shocked the field during the CUSA conference championship when she blasted out to 12.65m (41’6”) adding yet another 2 feet to her personal best, and backed it up with a second best of the day at 12.62m (41’5). By the end of the competition Jazmine had out jumped her 2014 PR by more than 4 feet, earned a crucial four points for the team and punched her ticket to the NCAA championship prelims.
Senior transfer Dominique Best, had the hardest task of them all, returning from hip surgery to compete as the team’s multi event athlete. Dominique would fight through the grueling test at the indoor championship having done only one pentathlon since her injury in 2012 to set a PR in the high jump and total score of 3524 points which placed fourth, earned five team points and puts her third on the UNT all-time performers list. Outdoors would bring another PR in the high jump for Dominique when she popped up and over 1.66m (5’5.25”).
Rounding out the women’s performances, Sr. Jessica McNew capped her collegiate pole vault career with North Texas jumping herself to her best championship finish and a lifetime best jump of 3.62m (11’10.5”) placing 5th and earning 4 points for the team. Jr. Madsion Northcutt fought through a foot injury to help the team indoors scoring in the vault with a jump of 3.40m (11’1.75”).
On the men’s side, 2015 proved to be the year of the vault which became one of North Texas’s strongest events at both conference championships with Jr. Derek Richard, the addition of two freshmen Benjamin Brokenshire (Springtown, TX) and Gabe McAdams (Keller, TX). Setting personal records every week Ben came away with the best jump from the trio at the indoor conference meet with a first attempt jump clearing 5.75m (15’7”) and earning 3rd team all-conference. Backed up by Derek and Gabe the men’s vault grabbed 10.5 points for the team score. Outdoor saw continued improvement from the group as Ben worked his PR up another 10 centimeters to 5.85m (15’11”), and a 5th place showing at the CUSA championship in El Paso, TX. Derek had the greatest improvement adding 8 inches to his life time best at just the right time soaring over 5.01m (16’5.25”), clutching the silver. Derek’s jump is the best conference finish from a male vaulter since school record holder Jordan Wehr jumped 4.90m at the 2011 Sun Belt indoor championship.
In a return to the high jump, junior college transfer Eddie Wilcox earned 3rd team all-conference at both indoor and outdoor championships. Eddie solidified himself in North Texas history clearing the highest bar during the indoor season since 2007 in the men’s high jump. Freshman, Lafiel Smith (Lancaster, TX) qualified to an ultracompetitive long jump final during the indoor championship, set a lifetime best outdoors of 7.19m (23’7”) in the long jump, and capped his freshman year with the mean green by grabbing three points and a lifetime best of 53.67 seconds over the punishing 400m hurdles while competing at the 2015 CUSA outdoor championship.
2014 in review:
The indoor season saw more jumpers climbing their way up the all-time performers list. Leading the way was Clinton Clarke bounding his way to the No. 2 spot and the third man over 15m in the past 15 years. Freshman phenome Elisha Peters set a lifetime best on her way to a second place finish at the CUSA indoor championship and 3rd all-time in the high jump with leap of 1.76m (5’9.25”). Madison Northcutt punched herself into the top 5 all-time indoor list clearing 3.59m (11’9.25”), and Dalyn Hughes popped his way out to 7.02m (23’0.5”) during the indoor campaign. Others cracking the top ten all-time included Sarah Korn (PV), Icis Finley (LJ), and Osawaru Johnson (HJ).
Mackel’s guidance of the 2014 jump squad sent 3 athletes to the NCAA preliminary round. Clinton Clarke, represented the Mean Green well at the UTEP invitational. Soaring over his previous life time best in the long jump of 7.22m to an astounding 7.61m (24’11.75”). Mona Landry had the best showing of the jumpers during UNT’s inaugural outdoor CUSA conference championship meet, flying over her personal best, earing third team all-conference honors, 6 points for the team score, and finally hitting the sand at 6.15m (20’2.25”). Landry’s jump also moved her up three spots on the UNT top performers list to be the fifth eagle to jump over the 20 foot barrier. Rounding out the NCAA qualifiers was the stellar freshman Elisha Peters. Peters bettered herself yet again becoming the third eagle to top 1.78m (5’10) during the outdoor season, tying for second on the UNT all-time top performers list with the great Diedra Wesley former school record holder in the high jump, pentathlon, and heptathlon. The outdoor season saw both Dominique Best and Dalyn Hughes reach new lifetime best’s at the North Texas Classic of 6.02m (19’9”) and 7.44m (24’5”).
2013 season in review:
Mackel took the Mean Green jumpers to the next level. Junior, Shahaf Bareni’s second place performance during the indoor championship lit the fire for an amazing outdoor campaign that would see her jump over her 2012 school record four times, advance to the NCAA Championship final, and become the second jumper from UNT to earn All-American. She reset her school record for the final time of 2013 to 1.83m (6’0”) placing seventh and becoming the first lady eagle to traverse the 6 foot barrier in the high jump. Shahaf wasn’t the lone high jumper at the NCAA prelims, her teammate Sr. Haley Thompson, also qualified when she set a new personal best earlier that year while at the UTEP Invitational of 1.74m (5’8.5”). Freshman, Mona Landry just barely missed the cutoff for the NCAA preliminary round when she leapt to her lifetime best of 5.93m (19’5.5”) in route to her 8th place finish during the outdoor conference championship. Landry was also an essential member to the NCAA prelim qualifying 4x100m relay carrying the baton through the second leg for the Mean Green. Senior, Chelsea Hermes would capitalize on her 2012 progress and take over as the #1 all-time performer in the pentathlon setting a new school record of 3702 points in route to her 1st place finish during the 2013 indoor Sun Belt Conference Championship. Following her record breaking performance indoors, the outdoor season saw another record fall in the women’s heptathlon. Hermes smashed her previous school record by more than 100 points when she claimed the silver at the outdoor championship with 5191 points. She would come back to help the team after the grueling five and seven event tests of athleticism to earn third and seventh in the open high jump. The Mean Green vaulters continued their conference success as they went three-for-three with junior Sarah Vann, sophomore Jessica McNew, and freshman Madison Northcutt all amongst the scoring top-8 at the indoor conference championship. Freshman Michaela Williams would bounce her way out to a lifetime best of 11.99m (39’4”) in the triple jump during the outdoor season placing herself amongst UNT’s top-5 all-time performers. The jumps group 2013 Outdoor Sun Belt Conference Championship combined for 22.5 points with Northcutt and Landry in the pole vault and long jump, and the stellar performances from Bareni, Thompson and Hermes in the high jump and pentathlon would help solidify North Texas’s bid as back to back outdoor team champions.
The 2013 Men’s jumps squad saw the return of Terrance Williams after a 1 year hiatus, and added junior Clinton Clarke, freshmen Derek Richard, and Trevor Henderson. Williams showed great promise when he opened his indoor campaign with a leap of 7.37m (24’2”) just 3 inches shy of the school record set in 1975 by John Gilford. Williams would later go on to win both Sun Belt indoor and outdoor titles in the long jump with efforts of 7.24m (23’9”) and 7.38m (24’2.5”) as well as 4th in the triple jump with a personal best leap of 14.66m (48’1.25”). Clinton Clarke backed Williams with a 7th place finish in the triple jump bounding out to 14.08m (46’2”). Freshman vaulter Derek Richard set a lifetime best of 4.70m (15’5”), and cracked the top 8 with his second attempt clearance during the indoor conference championship. Huge improvements came from freshman Trevor Henderson who scored 4 team points in the long jump with his leap of 7.32m (23’10.75”) for 5th place at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championship.
2012 season in review:
Mackel’s athletes bring down two records at the Sun Belt Outdoor Conference Championship when sophomore Shahaf Bareni won the women’s high jump battle with a leap of 1.81m (5’11”) also qualifying her to the NCAA west preliminary round and junior Chelsea Hermes claimed the #1 spot in North Texas history during the heptathlon finishing the 2 day competition with 5056 points and a silver medal. During the championship the high jump would prove to be the most lucrative of the jump squad with 4 of the top 8 finishers wearing mean green. The “Quad Squad” of Shahaf, junior Haley Thompson, junior Suzy Prikryl, and junior Chelsea Hermes gobbled up 19 points for the team during the high jump. The 2012 campaign saw big improvements from the women's pole vaulters as sophomore Sarah Vann took home all-conference honors during both the indoor and outdoor championships, while teammates Sarah Korn and Jessica McNew were both within the top 8. All together the jumps group would string 42 points up for the team score in route to being crowned team champions.
2011 season in review:
In his first season at North Texas Mackel worked with the throwers and jumpers. He quickly made an impact as one school record fell, two vaulters qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Round, and a long jumper would earn a silver medal at Jr. Pan-Am championships. Under Mackel’s tutelage senior Christal Brewster added 10 centimeters to her school record pole vault clearing 3.95m (12’11.5”), and in a return to form, senior Jordan Wehr traversed 5.20m (17’0.75”) for the 3rd time of his career qualifying himself to the NCAA preliminary round in Eugene, Oregon. While at the NCAA West Prelim Jordan and Christal would go on to finish 22nd and 28th. Freshman thrower Charleston Lewis and Sophomore Arron Sirles would pick up the Discus and Shot Put and stamp their mark in the Sun Belt, both taking 4th place honors during the outdoor championship. Terrance having qualified to the USA Junior Track and Field Championships with a windy jump of 7.61m (24’11”). Claimed his spot on the US Junior team with his second place effort of 7.58m (24’10.5”). Williams earned another silver medal when again spanned the distance of 7.58m (24’10.5”) while at the Jr. Pan-Am Championships in Miramar, Flordia.
New Mexico in review:
In his time at New Mexico, Mackel coached pole vaulter Kyle Walker to a second place finish, All-Mountatin West Conference honors and a spot in the NCAA West Preliminary Round with a vault of 5.35m (17'4"). Mackel, also worked with Sandy Fortner, the Mountain West Conference Heptathlon Champion (5723), a qualifier to the NCAA Outdoor Championhips in the Heptathlon. Fortner was named the Mountain West Female Athlete of the Year in 2010. Mackel also coached three women's vaulters in 2010: Kelly Fortner (12'9"), Lauren Jaramillio (12'1") and Amber Menke (12'1"), as well as numerous others. Mackel also coached the throwing events at New Mexico and mentored several athletes to personal bests, including Briana Paxton who qualified to the NCAA west preliminary round with a toss of the discus out to 158'10 and Sarah Smartwood in the hammer 160'10". Mackel mentored pole vaulter Robert Caldwell into the 18' club during the MWC championship. Robert dominated the competition with first attempt makes all the way to his winning jump of 5.51m (18'1”). Caldwell would go on to earn All-American at the 2008 NCAA outdoor championship with a 6th place finish. Mackel, the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional pole vault champion, also set the Midwest Regional record in that event at 5.51m (18' 1") and was one of the great success stories in UNM track & field history. He began as an unrecruited walk-on in 2002, with a best vault of under 12' out of high school. As a Lobo, Mackel improved by more than six feet during his collegiate career to become one of the nation's premier vaulters, earned 6 letters, 3 All-MWC conference honors, named MWC athlete of the week, and Midwest region male athlete of the year.
He is a 2006 graduate of the University of New Mexico, receiving his bachelor's degree in university studies and received a master's degree in exercise science from the University of New Mexico in 2010.