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Freshman Hurdler Waste No Time to Make an Impact

Mar 31, 2022

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State redshirt freshman hurdler Micaela De Mello's time in Pullman has been short-lived, but she has already stamped her name in the Cougar record books.

De Mello ran the fastest 100m hurdle time in WSU women's track and field history in her first outdoor meet with Washington State. She clocked in at 13.08 seconds at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona on March 18 to win the event. Her time broke Diana Picker's 15-year-old program record by 0.17 seconds.

The accomplishment goes further than just the WSU record books, as it is also the fastest 100-meter hurdle time in the NCAA and was the fourth-fastest mark recorded in the event worldwide.

"When I finished, I didn't know it was the school record. I thought it could be, but I wasn't sure," De Mello said. "When they told me I was really happy about it."

The record also earned De Mello Pac-12 Conference Women's Track Athlete of the Week honors, which is the first time a Cougar has received the honor since 2018.

A native of Palhoca, Brazil, the hot weather and outside track are what De Mello is used to and she believes that played a factor in her record time.

"In Brazil, we don't have indoor [events], so all my life I have always run outdoors," De Mello said. "My indoor season was not what I expected because I got sick, so I was really excited to be out there."

De Mello's track career before her time at WSU involved her competing in multiple worldwide events for Brazil, including the 2018 World Junior Championships in Finland, the 2019 Pan American U20 Athletics Championships in Costa Rica, and the 2021 Junior Pan American Games in Colombia.

When deciding between schools back, De Mello was in contact with several universities before she had even heard about Washington State. It wasn't until she got in contact with head coach Wayne Phipps that she decided Pullman was where she wanted to be.

"We were on the phone for like three hours, and by the end of the conversation I knew I wanted to come here and be with him," De Mello said. "That conversation went so well that I remember it being after midnight in Brazil and I went into my mom's room and told her, 'Hey I changed my mind, I'm going to Washington State University.'"

Although De Mello signed her letter of intent in the summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic kept her at home in Brazil and forced her to redshirt her freshman season. Now that she has been in Pullman since the fall of 2021, De Mello said being away from her family has been the hardest part.

"In my house, I live with my mom and brother, so I really miss them. I still talk with them on the phone every day," De Mello said. "I'm also married so I miss my husband a lot too; that's been a bit of a challenge for me."

De Mello credits Phipps and her teammates for welcoming her with open arms and making her feel at home. Fellow redshirt freshman hurdler Antonia Buschendorf has been someone De Mello has relied on and looked to over the course of the season.

"[Antonia] practices with me every day," De Mello said. "She was injured for two years before getting here and I've watched her trying really hard every practice to get back to where she was. Seeing that has been really helpful to me in working really hard to accomplish what I want."

Phipps, who has produced numerous Olympians and World Track and Field Championship hurdlers, has been working with De Mello on specific techniques and minor tweaks to try and improve her speed.

"There's a lot of things that he's trying to change with me to improve my performance, so that's been difficult," De Mello said. "But he gives me so much confidence, and when I'm able to execute [what he teaches], I see my time improving a lot."

De Mello said her goal for the rest of the season is to qualify for the Brazilian National Team and participate in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. in July. To do this, De Mello said she hopes to get her 100m hurdle time under 12.80 seconds.

In her free time, De Mello loves to cook and hopes to open her own restaurant one day. She said she is always finding new recipes to try, but her favorite is a family tradition called Empadão.

De Mello will get a test run on the track at the World Athletics Championship will be held this weekend, as the Cougars are heading to Eugene, Ore. to participate in the Hayward Premiere on April 1-2. Check back with for a full recap of this weekend's events.

For more information on the Washington State track and field team, follow @WSUCougarXCTF on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.