Jumpers at the center for Plainville
By CONOR NICHOLL
PLAINVILLE -- On Tuesday, Plainville High School senior Nolan Weiser kept consistent in the triple jump. Cardinal senior Dalton Werner scratched on his first two attempts in the long jump before he uncorked back-to-back leaps better than 21 feet in cold, windy conditions.
Weiser and Werner didn't have their best days, but the end result was similar: a second-place finish and eight team points for Weiser and a first-place showing and 10 points for Werner.
"I would like a warmer meet where I could actually jump a little better," Werner said.
Last spring, Weiser and Werner, two of the area's and Class 2A's top jumpers for years, helped Plainville collect the state championship by one point over Meade. Werner won the long jump and finished third in the 100-meter dash.
Weiser took fourth in the triple jump. This spring, Weiser, Werner, hurdler Nick Hixon and sprinter/jumper Trevor Axelson form the core for another strong Cardinal squad.
"All of us have had experience down there (at state), and I think we will step it up," said Werner, who finished 10th as a freshman and second as a sophomore in the long jump.
Weiser, a three-time state qualifier in the triple jump, has always been strong in the event. Weiser went to Stockton for junior high and his freshman year before he came over to Plainville. The league meet didn't have triple jump when he was in eighth grade, but he went to a non-league meet.
That meet marked the first time Weiser had ever triple jumped competitively; he learned the event that week in practice.
Weiser finished a half-inch away from the junior high meet record. Weiser knew he would do the event in high school. He cleared 39 feet the first meet of his freshman year and then didn't clear 39 feet until he jumped 39-11 at regionals the end of the spring.
Sophomore season, he broke 40 for the first time at Victoria. Weiser cleared 40 feet nearly every meet last year. His last jump at state in 2012, a leap of 42-1.5, is Weiser's career best. Weiser likely will play basketball for Kansas Wesleyan or jump for Fort Hays State University.
"It's an event I really enjoy," he said. "It just kind of comes naturally."
On Tuesday, Weiser lept 38-8 in his first jump. Then, he went 39-7, 39-8 and 39-5.
"Pretty good for the conditions and everything," Weiser said. "It's always kind of a process every year. I start back around 39 and work my way up. I got pretty close to 40. I think my last jump I moved back. I was behind the board, and I jumped 39-8. I think if I was on the board and didn't move back, I think I would have been just over 40."
Weiser was fine having more jumps of similar length instead of uncorking one big leap and have three average jumps and/or scratches. The Cardinals, like many area teams, haven't had a warm day for a meet this year.
"It's pretty good now at this stage," Weiser said. "I think as the year goes on, especially as we get some warmer days, I will usually pop one. That's what coach (Steve) Buresh always says. It's a matter of time before I pop one, 40-footer or a 41-footer. But right now, consistency is what I would say I want. Then, when we get a really nice day, then I want to kind of work my way up."
After Weiser finished in the triple jump, Werner competed in the long jump. With a large family audience that included his parents, sister and grandparents, Werner scratched early. His mom, who helped run the event, let Werner know how far he had fouled. Werner talked briefly with his dad between his first and second jumps. Then, Werner went 21 feet on his third attempt and 21-2.25 on his last jump to win. Werner's best leap is 22-5; he would like to hit 23 feet this year.
"I am not really worried about it," Werner said of the scratches. "I have done it ever since my freshman year. It's just kind of like a habit for me, I guess."