New group for Plainville track
By CONOR NICHOLL
Senior Hadley Gillum, a two-time Hays Daily News boys' basketball Player of the Year, had always played golf since he transferred from Palco to Plainville after his freshman year.
Last year, during regional track week, Gillum came over and threw with the Plainville throwers for fun. He fronted 130 feet on the discus, a solid throw. Plainville throwing coach T.J. Staab told Gillum he needed to come out for track in 2014.
Gillum made the choice to join the track team this spring, part of a brand-new group for Plainville, which has finished third, first and first in Class 2A boys the last three years, the best run in school annals.
"College basketball-wise, I wanted to gain some speed," Gillum said.
Plainville graduated sprinter Trevor Axelson, two-time state champion long jumper Dalton Werner, state champion hurdler Nick Hixon, jumper Nolan Weisner and thrower Bradey Chard as well as sprinter Brett Davis and jumper Kent Diaz. The Cardinals don't return a single state qualifier from last year.
"We have got some young kids, and we are going to have to rebuild some this year, but they are all working hard and getting better and that's the key," Plainville coach Norma Finnesy said.
Senior Dylan Wiesner, a state wrestling champion and a Northeastern Oklahoma A&M wrestling signee, had just participated in track as a sophomore.
"More or less to stay in shape," Finnesy said.
Wiesner had normally traveled the wrestling circuit in the spring. Now, he is out and taking track seriously to help with collegiate wrestling. In javelin, Wiesner threw 129 feet, 2 inches at the season-opening La Crosse meet and then won the Ellis Invitational with a throw of 138 feet.
"Just give me something to do," Wiesner said. "Keep me in shape, hang out with my friends, it's my last year."
Kolt Newell, a Palco transfer, has competed well in the high jump and triple jump. Newell won La Crosse (6-2) and Ellis (6-0) in the high jump, and lept 40-5 at both meets in the triple jump. At the state level, four Class 2A jumpers have cleared 6-2, according to historian Carol Swenson's statewide honor roll. Normally high 41s will earn a state placing.
"Wow, what a nice addition," Finnesy said.
Senior Trevor Desair, in his first season running track for Plainville, and freshman Hayden Friend have done well in the sprints. At La Crosse, the pair finished 2-3 in 12.03 and 12.04. At Ellis, Friend finished second in 12.11 and Desair fourth at 12.15.
"We have got all new guys, and we are just kind of out having fun," Gillum said. "But we know in the back of our minds, if we can compete, we might be able to do something at the end of the year, but it's a long ways away for now."
The 6-foot-5 Gillum, who has also done high jump and triple jump, is already among the classification's top discus throwers.
"He is long, and he has got a lot a little bit of foot speed in the ring," Finnesy said.
He won at La Crosse with a mark of 140-8 and then uncorked a throw of 143-7 to win at Ellis. Just one Class 2A thrower, Montezuma-South Gray's Jake Peters (164-11) has cleared 153 feet. Staab, who has coached state champions Dani Winters and Jameson Klein, started Gillum out with the basics and then has taught more as the spring has progressed.
"I am hoping to increase on it," Gillum said. "It has kind of come naturally to me, and Coach Staab is a great coach. He has helped me out already a bunch. I've got higher expectations, but we will see what happens."
Gillum's mark at Ellis would have placed him fifth in Class 2A last season. Wiesner's top javelin throw would have been 13th. The last medal spot came at 147-5.
"It's a progression, and I can only imagine what they would have done if they had gone out when they were freshmen," Finnesy said of Gillum and Wiesner. "But it is what it is, and we are doing the best we can with them, and hopefully by the end of the season, maybe we can get them to state."