Daniel Wheeler

Trinity Christian’s Daniel Wheeler during high jump. 

Daniel Wheeler

Wheeler

As the TAPPS state track & field meet plays out Saturday at Midway High School in Waco, competitors and spectators might be surprised with what they see from Trinity Christian’s Daniel Wheeler.

The Lion senior will be one of the busier athletes at the meet, which has been truncated to a one-day event because of inclement weather in Central Texas. All field events scheduled for Friday were postponed until Saturday.

While the altered schedule may cause problems for many athletes, Wheeler is a different place than most right now.

Yes, he wants to be at his best when he competes in all three jumps, the 200 meters and as a leg on Trinity’s 4x2 relay team.

To take serious aim at that top-shelf goal, Wheeler wants to be a little different than most. He certainly wants to be different than he was in his first three state meet trips.

“I’m a very mental person, so this year I’ve learned to stay more relaxed than I’ve been in the past,” Wheeler said. “What I’ve learned is to take a chair with me, find some shade and make sure I’m getting off my feet as much as possible ad relaxing instead of stressing out about what I have to do next.

Daniel Wheeler

Trinity Christian’s Daniel Wheeler won four events at the Class 4A North Region Meet.

“I know I’m going to perform better if I stay loose mentally. So, in between jumps, I want to talk to people around me to keep my mind off of my jumps. When I get on the runaway, that’s when I’ll be ready to focus in.”

Mother Nature may put Wheeler’s laid-back approach to a different test.

To fit a two-day meet into one day, TAPPS officials are having to scramble a bit. As a result, Wheeler will do the two running events he has qualified in in the morning and then switch gears to the jumps. For added intrigue, the current schedule has the 4A boys long jump and high jump happening at the same time (2 p.m.), followed by the triple jump at 3 p.m.

So, since there may not be the expected time for socializing, Wheeler may have to lean more heavily on the whole staying loose mentally thing.

However the format changes and whatever new challenges arise, Wheeler’s confidence is at its peak heading into the final competition of his prep career before he heads to Abilene Christian.

“My confidence has grown every year, and it’s at its highest level right now,” Wheeler said. “My freshman year, I was still a pretty weak and scrawny kid, so I was just trying to do the best I could. Weightlifting and football have really helped the last three years, and it’s also been big that my speed has increased in the offseason. That’s really helped with the long jump and triple jump because I’m able to get some speed in my approaches.

Daniel Wheeler

Trinity Christian’s Daniel Wheeler sprints down the runway for long jump.

“I’ve learned a lot from doing all three jumping events, and that has helped me grow a lot both physical and mentally.”

Although this is his fourth straight trip to state, this is the first year Wheeler has qualified in five events – in part he insists due to his new approach between events.

Getting off his feet and relaxing mentally have contributed to him registering better heights and made the sprint events something he could manage better.

“Last year kind of went downhill for me, especially in the high jump,” he said. “I went (6-foot-6) in one of the first indoor meets and then struggled most of the spring. My triple jump and long jump were OK, but I knew I could be better.”

Whatever formula Wheeler has relied on has worked. He comes into the state meet with the best marks in the state in all three leaps in Class 4A: 6-foot-6 in the high jump, 23-foot-8 in the long jump and 46-foot-2 in the triple.

He switched from the 400 to the 200 this season and has recorded a season-best time of 22.18, which is in the top five in TAPPS 4A.

All of which fuels sky-high expectations.

“Five gold medals,” Wheeler said matter-of-factly when asked about his expectations this weekend. “That’s the big dream in my head.

"If I can run my best in the 200 and we can get cleaner handoffs in the 4x2 and run like we have been, I think we can take the 1.5 seconds off our time that would make us the team to beat,”

TAPPS STATE MEET

At Midway HS (Panther Stadium) in Waco

Friday

All field events cancelled

6 p.m. – 3,200 meters

Saturday

9 a.m. – Field event finals

9 a.m. – Classes 4A/5A/6A running finals

2 p.m. – Classes 1A/2A/3A running finals

Lubbock qualifiers

Class 4A

GIRLS

Discus

Sydney Castleman, Lubbock Christian

Jordan McKee, Lubbock Christian

Erin Hodgson, Lubbock Christian

High jump

Mya Patton, Lubbock Christian

Long jump

Lily Alderson, Trinity Christian

Lauren Young, Trinity Christian

Pole vault

Skye Dickey, Trinity Christian

Brooklyn Boyer, Lubbock Christian

Alynn Kitten, Lubbock Christian

Ella Hampton, Lubbock Christian

Shot put

Shirah Arnold, Lubbock Christian

Triple jump

Lily Alderson, Trinity Christian

Brenna Daniel, Trinity Christian

3,200 meters

Sophie Lee, Lubbock Christian

Madelyn Mandry, Trinity Christian

Kaylynn Jimenez, Lubbock Christian

800 meters

Rainey Payne, Trinity Christian

Sophie Lee, Lubbock Christian

100-meter hurdles

Jordan Diomede, Trinity Christian

Kara Ashworth, Trinity Christian

100 meters

Lily Alderson, Trinity Christian

4x200 relay

Trinity Christian (Brenna Daniel-Campbell Kothmann-Addison Boehning-Lily Alderson)

Lubbock Christian (Chyler Townsend-Mara Dendy-Skylar Timmons-Mya Patton)

400 meters

Kayla DeNeefe, Trinity Christian

Campbell Kothmann, Trinity Christian

300-meter hurdles

Jordan Diomede, Trinity Christian

200 meters

Kayla DeNeefe, Trinity Christian

1,600 meters

Sophie Lee, Lubbock Christian

Madelyn Mandry, Trinity Christian

4x400 relay

Trinity Christian (Brenna Daniel-Addison Boehning-Emma Mandry-Rainey Payne)

BOYS

Discus

Lars Hanssen, Trinity Christian

High jump

Daniel Wheeler, Trinity Christian

Alex Lack, Lubbock Christian

Long jump

Daniel Wheeler, Trinity Christian

Pole vault

Elliott Kitten, Lubbock Christian

Josiah Whiting, Lubbock Christian

Luke Griffin, Lubbock Christian

Wesley Henderson, Trinity Christian

Shot put

Cale Underwood, Trinity Christian

Hunter Turnbow, Lubbock Christian

Triple jump

Daniel Wheeler, Trinity Christian

Cody Athey, Trinity Christian

3,200 meters

Pierce Tapp, Trinity Christian

Ruben Torres, Lubbock Christian

800 meters

Ruben Torres, Lubbock Christian

Joel Jeffers, Trinity Christian

110-meter hurdles

Cash Howard, Lubbock Christian

Kennan Dowling, Trinity Christian

100 meters

Justin Franco, Trinity Christian

4x200 relay

Lubbock Christian (Jaden Bullington-Cash Howard-Alex Lack-Parker Rumsey)

Trinity Christian (Justin Franco-Brek Thomas-Daniel Wheeler-Dax Wilson)

400 meters

Max Perales, Trinity Christian

300-meter hurdles

Cash Howard, Lubbock Christian

200 meters

Daniel Wheeler, Trinity Christian

1,600 meters

Ruben Torres, Lubbock Christian

Pierce Tapp, Trinity Christian

Class 2A

GIRLS

High jump

Meghan Mitchell, All Saints

Long jump

Jilayne Headrick, All Saints

Shot put

Landen Hancock, Southcrest Christian

3,200 meters

Nina Lopez, Southcrest Christian

4x100 relay

All Saints

(Sara Phy-Katie Bayouth-Stephanie Hasselkus-Meghan Mitchell)

800 meters

Nina Lopez Southcrest Christian

100-meter hurdles

Jilayne Headrick, All Saints

400 meters

Sara Phy, All Saints

300-meter hurdles

Jilayne Headrick, All Saints

200 meters

Katie Bayouth, All Saints

4x400 relay

All Saints (Sara Phy-Katie Bayouth-Jilayne Headrick-Stephanie Hasselkus)

BOYS

High jump

Jackson Janes, All Saints

Shot put

Landen Hancock, Southcrest Christian

3,200 meters

Ret Taylor, All Saints

Alex Spencer, Southcrest Christian

800 meters

Jacob Kidder, Southcrest Christian

110-meter hurdles

Brenner Wood, Southcrest Christian

4x200 relay

Southcrest Christian

(Johnathan Goertzen-Stephen Hunt-Zachary Toney-Luke Middleton)

400 meters

Tanner Grant, Southcrest Christian

1,600 meters

Ret Taylor, All Saints

Alex Spencer, Southcrest Christian

4x400 relay

Southcrest Christian (Tanner Grant-Johnathan Goertzen-Zachary Toney-Stephen Hunt)

All Saints (Ash Bumstead-Jackson Janes-Ross Rogers-Ret Taylor)

Class 1A

GIRLS

Long jump

Natalie Poe, Kingdom Prep

Shot put

Maggie Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Triple jump

Maggie Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

4x100 relay

Kingdom Prep (Maggie Nicholson-Macy Lynn Wolfington-Elena Dowell-Natalie Poe)

100-meter hurdles

Maggie Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Macy Lynn Wolfington, Kingdom Prep

100 meters

Natalie Poe, Kingdom Prep

400 meters

Natalie Poe, Kingdom Prep

300-meter hurdles

Maggie Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Macy Lynn Wolfington, Kingdom Prep

BOYS

Long jump

Joshua Deel, Kingdom Prep

Samuel Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Tristan Flores, Kingdom Prep

Triple jump

Samuel Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Tristan Flores, Kingdom Prep

Joshua Deel, Kingdom Prep

3,200 meters

Colby Sandoval, Christ the King

Lincoln Fleischman, Kingdom Prep

4x100 relay

Christ the King (Zechariah Carillo-Eric Xuan-Tanner Hook-Jaime Mendoza-Duran)

800 meters

Lincoln Fleischman, Kingdom Prep

110-meter hurdles

Samuel Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Tristan Flores, Kingdom Prep

100 meters

Joshua Deel, Kingdom Prep

4x200 relay

Christ the King (Zechariah Carillo-Eric Xuan-Tanner Hook-Jaime Mendoza-Duran)

300-meter hurdles

Samuel Nicholson, Kingdom Prep

Tristan Flores, Kingdom Prep

1,600 meters

Colby Sandoval, Christ the King

Lincoln Fleischman, Kingdom Prep

4x400 relay

Christ the King (Tanner Hook-Ben Calvillo-Colby Sandoval-Zechariah Carillo)