Monarch jumpers eye big marks at state

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
TMP-Marian's Jace Wentling took titles in the long jump and triple jump at regionals.

Jace Wentling figures he might as well embrace the grind. 

Two days after completing the baseball season, the TMP-Marian junior earned regional titles in the long jump and triple jump in just his third track meet of the season. 

"It hasn't been the easiest thing. Being a dual sport athlete is very difficult," Wentling said. "But I've liked the grind and being able to do both, track and baseball, and do my part on both teams."

Wentling matched a school record in the triple jump with a leap of 44-10. That mark put him at the top of the performance list at 3A state. The 4A and 3A meet is Friday at Wichita State's Cessna Stadium. 

"My goal was always to be able to put my name up on (the school record) board," Wentling said. 

After a busy spring, Wentling won't get much of a break this summer, jumping right into summer baseball. 

"My first game is May 30th," Wentling said. "Go right back at it. I'm honestly ready to get back to baseball. I already miss it."

In long jump, Wentling went 20-07.75 to win the long jump as TMP went 1-2-3 in the event. Kade Harris was second with a 20-2.75 and Ian Chiu was third with a 20-2.50. 

After narrowly missing qualifying for state as a freshman, Wentling is eager to experience the atmosphere. 

"I missed going to state by about two inches," Wentling said of his freshman year. "I've really been wanting to do state in track and this year was my opportunity to do it.

"Baseball's obviously my No. 1 and I want to play in college, but track has always been one thing to help me in all of my sports."

Wentling's also looking forward to jumping alongside his teammates, Harris and Chiu, an international student who is hosted by Wentling's family. 

"I think it's pretty cool, being able to have Ian and Kade with me," Wentling said. "They've always been my brothers. And Ian's basically my brother because he's lived with me the last three years."

"Those guys have been consistent all year, and it was awesome to watch it unfold at regionals and watch those guys 1-2-3," Harris said of his long jump. "I think at state you're going to see even better jumps out of each one of them."

Abby Rueschhoff, is another two-sport athlete for the Monarchs, also playing soccer.

Harris credited Wentling and Rueschhoff for being able to compete at a high level in both sports. 

Rueschhoff enters ranked second on the performance list in the triple jump (35-7) and long jump (17-4 1/2). Russell's Renee' Nichol is first on the performance list on the long jump (17-10 1/2). 

"She's definitely great competition to go against," Rueschhoff said. "We've actually made a really good friendship the past four years, jumping together. She's pushed me, I've pushed her."

"I'm hoping to peak a little more at state and hopefully get a little further than my previous records," Rueschhoff added. 

Makinsey Schlautman and Kassidi Yost and will compete in the high jump after going 1-2 at regionals. Both Schlautman and Yost went 5-2 at regionals. 

"It's fun to compete in practice," Yost said. "When we compete at meets it's always fun to cheer each other on."

"We can help each other out and we kind of know what each other's strengths and weaknesses are," Schlautman said.

Yost got off to a slow start in the early part of the season as she recovered from an ankle injury she suffered late in the basketball season. 

"It took three meets before I was actually jumping to what I should be," Yost said. "It was hard waiting and not being able to do stuff. But once I got back, I'm doing pretty good."

TMP pole vaulter Jeff Heimann is second on the performance list at 14 feet. Scott City's Loren Faurot has the top mark at 15 feet. 

"He's going to go out and compete and he's going to give the kid from Scott City his best shot," Harris said of Heimann. 

Sasha Wasinger will compete in shot put after throwing 35-7 1/2 at the regional. 

"Consistency; she's thrown about the same at each meet this year," Harris said. "She's fun to watch, she's super competitive and I think she can do some big things at the state meet."

Emilee Lane qualified for a spot in the 800 with a 2:27.99 regional. 

"We really loaded her up all year long in the 800, four by eight, 400," Harris said. "In the league meets and some of the smaller meets, we wanted her to get some of that training, knowing that coming into regionals she'd likely only be running the 800 and the four by four. 

"With her competitiveness and her will to go out there and give it her all, it's really neat to watch her."