Diamonds and Ice


Linn-Mar’s Hutcheson wins Dickinson high jump

 

 

 

By Jeff Johnson

The Gazette

CEDAR FALLS — It’s not supposed to work this way.

A kid decides to go out for his high-school track and field team for the first time his senior season, practices all of twice, then has his first meet. He wins the darned thing.

Welcome to the high jump, Nate Hutcheson. You’re apparently a natural.

“I’ve never done it before, so there’s no pressure on me or anything,” the Linn-Mar senior said after winning Monday’s all-classes A.D. Dickinson indoor meet at the UNI-Dome. “It’s just a really fun thing to do.”

Yeah, things are fun when you’ve got a knack for them, and Hutcheson’s obviously got a knack for this. He said he high jumped “a little bit” when he was in middle school, but never pursued the activity until being persuaded by coaches to go out this spring.

Despite a form you’d expect from a novice, he managed to clear 6-feet, 6 inches Monday, just missing at 6-7. For a little comparison, the Mississippi Valley Conference held its indoor meet at the UNI-Dome last week and the winner went 6-feet.

The winning jumper at last year’s outdoor state meet in Class 4A cleared 6-10. Hutcheson’s jump would have placed him fourth.

And the dude has little idea about what he’s doing, yet.

“My goal was 6-7, and I didn’t quite get that,” Hutcheson said. “That’s my height, and I think you’re supposed to be able to jump your height.

“I think I can get it, though. I was looking at the tape, and my shoulders were over (the bar) pretty good. I just need to get my form down. I don’t have very good form.”

Hutcheson said after the competition had been completed, one of the judges (a UNI high jumper) stopped him and gave him some tips on his form and approach. He said he competed with sprinter’s spikes, as he’s waiting for a pair of high jumper’s shoes that are on order.

“When you play as much basketball as I do, I guess you’ll develop some ups, you know?” Hutcheson said. “My form is terrible. I’ve got to get my hips up and stuff, get my back arched. Right now, I’m just going on (pure leaping ability), I guess.”

As Hutcheson mentioned, he is a basketball player, a 6-7 all-state forward who is headed to Western Michigan University this fall. He’s also the guy everyone remembers for getting suspended for the state basketball tournament two weeks ago.

Marion police cited him for a disorderly house after a party at his family residence got out of hand. Drinking was involved, though Hutcheson tested negative for alcohol.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” he said. “I really wanted to play in the state tournament and everything. But I’ve learned a ton from what’s happened. Letting all of my teammates down has really pushed me to try and be a better person.

“Most of all, I learned who I should be associating myself with. Because in the end, that’s what got me in trouble — the guys I associated myself with. It’s a learning process, a really tough, hard learning process. But it’s going to help me. I’ve got to turn it into a positive, you know?”

Linn-Mar ended up finishing second in Class 4A, losing by 10 points to unbeaten Ames in the championship game. Hutcheson was asked if he thought the outcome would have been different had he played.

“That’s hard to say,” he said. “I’m not trying to say anything about my teammates, but I think I would have been a better matchup on (prep all-American) Harrison Barnes. Just because I’m his size and athletic. But I can’t say yes or no.”

 

 

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