DIKE — Memories from this past weekend are still fresh for Dike-New Hartford junior Parker Kiewiet. They may remain permanently etched inside his mind.
The Wolverines’ track and field standout felt the adrenaline rush of executing a 22-foot, 8-inch jump on his final attempt to secure a Drake Relays flag before being mobbed by friends and family underneath the jumbotron at Drake Stadium Friday afternoon.
“They were standing there waiting for me, giving me high fives, hugs, everything,” Kiewiet recalls. “My coach was there, family was there to tell me good job and how awesome it was.”
Unlike last year when he made a short round trip from Dike with a coach for the Thursday long jump, Kiewiet was able to enjoy the full relays weekend with his teammates. He anchored 4x200 and 4x400 relays with the latter qualifying for Saturday afternoon’s final after he split a 49.06-second anchor leg.
Perhaps the only thing that didn’t go Kiewiet’s way last weekend is the fact that the late start time for the 4x400 final forced him to miss part of prom.
“We had to hurry back so I missed a little bit of that,” Kiewiet said. “It was an unforgettable weekend.”
Kiewiet’s success is the culmination of a time commitment he has made within a four-sport workload. He has grown by leaps and bounds since fouling on all three long jump attempts during his freshman state debut.
“Ever since then we’ve really seen a fire in him to get back down to Drake Stadium to accomplish what he’s wanting to accomplish, like he did last weekend,” D-NH track and field coach Will Reingardt said. “That’s been fun to see him grow from that unconfident freshman to a more confident athlete.”
That taste of adversity helped propel Kiewiet to a fifth-place finish at Drake and fourth-place effort in the 2A state long jump as a sophomore.
“It’s an awesome feeling, knowing my work is paying off in the weight room and out on the runway,” Kiewiet said.
Athleticism has been combined with execution of a difficult hitch kick for Kiewiet, who is very deliberate as he begins each long jump attempt with a rocking motion.
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“It’s just me telling myself, ‘OK, OK, OK, when’s the right time,’” Kiewiet said. “When I’m ready, I’m ready.”
Taking in iPad footage and working to make corrections alongside long jump coach Greg Moore in real time, Kiewiet has enjoyed the technical side of the sport.
“A lot of track and field events are very technical and being able to think and process what you need to fix and change is very important as an athlete to perform at a high level,” Reingardt said. “He’s very smart and understands his events and is learning, as well. He understands there’s more growth to go along with it.”
This spring has been the continuation of a memorable junior year for Kiewiet. He was a member of a state-qualifying basketball team and caught three touchdown passes in the championship game of the state football playoffs.
“Never in my life would I have thought that I would have done something that productive in that sport because of how skinny I am,” the wide receiver and defensive back said. “That football team we had, it was just such a fun year.”
Kiewiet has been a major ambassador for a Dike-New Hartford track program he feels has the depth to make a run at a state team title. He’s helped convince friends to go out for track after playing roles in the success of other team sports.
“You have to have time management, because if you don’t then you’re going to fall behind and it can get real bad in school,” said Kiewiet, who began baseball practice on Monday. “It’s really tough, but I enjoy it. I’m the only one in my class that does it. I just really enjoy doing all four sports.”
Beginning to generate college interest, Kiewiet now has his sights set on a 23-foot jump and a school record.
“What I’m doing so far is hopefully not the best thing that happens,” Kiewiet said. “I’m hoping to get a lot of PR’s still.”
As the drive for a state team title continues, Reingardt has seen his junior standout emerge as a leader.
“He’s a team-oriented teammate,” Reingardt said. “What I’ve seen a lot different than last year is him being more vocal, being more positive with teammates, pushing them along, being in the front of the pack in the training group.
“Before he’d be one to kind of hide in the back and just try to get through practice. Now he’s up leading the practice.”