PULLMAN, Wash. — Going viral, to put it simply, is a crazy feeling.
WSU sprinter Ray Ray Wells Jr. experienced that firsthand on Monday when ESPN picked up a video of him clearing a 55 inch hurdle, the equivalent of clearing a 4'7'' human being.
"I looked at my nephew and I just grabbed him like, 'Oh my god, oh my god!' I started shaking him and he was like, 'What, what, what?' I was like, 'Uncle is about to be on SportsCenter!' And we just started celebrating like, 'Ahhhh!'," Wells Jr. said with a big smile. "It was a moment I’ll never forget. I couldn’t relive that happiness."
Between the SportsCenter video and Wells’ original video, his feat now has over 800,000 views on Twitter alone.
"That’s been a lifelong childhood dream. It gets no bigger than that for an athlete making SportsCenter, ESPN. It’s a childhood dream being fulfilled," said the sprinter, who holds the WSU record in the 60 meters.
The Rainier Beach alum posted the video on Twitter in November after the WSU track and field team did fitness testing. It went mildly viral, but about a month ago he decided to post the same video on his Instagram. That’s when it took off again and eventually landed in the hands of ESPN.
"The scary thing about it is my coaches and my teammates were like, 'We know you can do it again. We know you can do more.' I had just come off a max bench, and I did that height. I wanted to go up but my coach was like, 'No, we’ve got to save some of your legs for max squats,' because we had it after," said Wells Jr.
The senior will get more shots at surpassing his previous height, as he plans to return to WSU and use his extra year of eligibility.
Wells transferred to WSU from a JUCO, so seeing his year put on hold was actually a positive in his eyes.
"I would always go around like, 'Oh, if I could just have three years at this collegiate level, four years,' and I got it," said the third place finisher in the 100 meters at the 2019 Pac-12 Championships. "Even though I had to sacrifice the indoor championship and my outdoor season, I gained back a whole other year at WSU and to me that means more than anything. I love it there."
As for the video? This whole experience has Ray Ray dreaming of more once he’s able to get back to campus.
"It makes me very excited. I can’t wait to get right back to my sanctuary and get back to work," he said. "Now I see that people have got a hold to it, I’m liable to do that many other times when we have the same workouts. Just keep upping and upping and keep shocking myself and shocking others."