Meet the freshman: Menelik Israel

DURHAM – As the Blue Devils prepare for the 2022 baseball season, the head coach Chris Pollard and the Duke baseball program are excited to introduce a new class of freshmen.

During the fall semester, will be releasing individual presentations of its freshman class of 12.

Menelik Israel is the 10th member of the Duke freshman class to be introduced in the fall.

“Menelik is one of the fastest players on our program,” Pollard said. “As he continues to develop offensively, he has the opportunity to really mess up the courts. I’m really excited with his growth on and off the pitch this fall.”

Israel, a native of Lake Elsinore, California, attended Norco High School for four seasons under head coach Gary Parcell. He graduated to the .358 mark with 15 doubles, 26 RBIs and 12 stolen bases during his career. In the children’s season shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel hit .452 with four doubles and 10 RBIs.

Israel won the OIF Second Team title in 2019 as a sophomore, recording an average of .309 hits with seven doubles and 12 RBIs.

As a senior, Israel passed high school baseball to participate in the BRG Scout Ball Games, in which he beat 0.396 with six doubles, two triples, a home track and 12 RBIs in 24 matches. He also added 10 more stolen bases.

Israel is ranked 13th outside of California. He was also a member of the Philippine team that competed in the 2020 World Classic Baseball qualifiers.

In addition to baseball, Israel has won many titles as a member of the Norco athletics program. He reached the state semifinals in the 4×400 as a freshman and holds the show’s record in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Born Menelik Israel on November 21, 2001, he is the son of Mishael and Marilou Israel. He has six brothers, Mishael, Moshe Messiah, Magdiel, Michael and Micah, and one sister, Sarah.

Learn about Menelik:
Favorite movie: Pirates of the Caribbean saga
Favorite actor/actress: Keanue Reeves / Johnny Depp / Chadwick Boseman / Will Smith
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite snack: Sour worms
Favorite athletes: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Favorite Baseball Player: Byron Buxton / Mookie
Favorite baseball video game: Wii Sports Baseball
Why did you choose Duke? I chose the duke because everyone there was interested in me and my abilities. I feel wanted and belonging. Duke also has the best of both worlds. A great baseball program and a great academic program.
What do you look forward to most in Duke? I’m looking forward to meeting new people, living the duke experience and most importantly playing with my teammates on the field.
What is your biggest fear? Panda.
Who is your role model? Why? My parents because they are the ones responsible for the opportunities that I have throughout my life. They provided me with the resources I needed to succeed at the baseball game. They also opened the right path for me through my education and personality. I am grateful to them.

#GoDuke Meet the freshman: Menelik Israel

Huynh Nguyen

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