TMP's Jace Wentling leaps to state championship
WICHITA — Trying to balance track and field with baseball, TMP-Marian's Jace Wentling was thrilled just to make state.
What unfolded on Friday at the Class 3A meet was beyond Wentling's wildest dreams.
Wentling claimed the long jump state championship, gliding 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches to obliterate his personal record by two feet.
"I never really thought that I'd even be at state; I figured maybe I would have a chance and kind of get the experience, but I never thought of myself as a state champion," Wentling said.
Wentling, who was competing in just his fourth track and field meet of the season, earned the mark on his second attempt. Girard's Gabe Muia took second with a 22-11 1/2.
"It's pretty surreal," Wentling said. "I didn't really think I'd be here right now, but I'm so happy and blessed to be a state champion."
Four of Wentling's attempts on Friday were better than his previous personal best of 21-5 entering the meet.
"I think I just popped off the board and got high in the air," Wentling said. "It felt great. I just had a good feeling heading into today."
In the triple jump, Wentling was No. 1 on the performance list heading into the meet after going 44-10 in the regional meet.
He took third in the triple at state with a 43-0 3/4.
"I was hoping in triple that I would do a little bit better," Wentling said. "I didn't jump my best today, but in the long jump I wanted to redeem myself and make up for not doing as well in the triple jump. Just wanted to give it my best in the long jump and leave it all out there."
Wentling, who plans on playing baseball in college, said he'll be a dual-sport spring athlete again next year.
"Baseball will be my main sport but I'm still looking forward to coming back here to Cessna and defending my title," Wentling said.