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    Bellevue's Wyatt Sumser turned into jumps 'beast' with hard work, boost from growth spurt

    By Matthew Horn, Fremont News-Messenger,


    Wyatt Sumser was determined as a 5-foot-4 sophomore.

    The Bellevue senior kept that work ethic as he has grew six inches the next two years. Bellevue coaches and Sumser, who cleared 6-9 to establish a school record and earn a state championship in the high jump at the OHSAA Division II state track and field meet, always knew they had a monster in him.

    Assistant girls coach Michael Wagner "turned me into a beast,” Sumser said. “He took me under his wing and made me the great high jumper I am today. He knew the exact lifts to make me a better high jumper.

    “Sled pulls. Dead lifts. He knew the right things. I’ve always been athletic; he knew how to unlock a different (athlete).”

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    Clear Fork’s Davis Hoeflich was Sumser's competition at the state meet, having cleared 6-8.

    “There was a jumper ahead of me,” Sumser said. “The only way to a win was to reach a height he couldn’t. I knew I had to get 6-9; it was life or death. I got it on my first try.”

    Wagner, who coached Sumser for the indoor season, was a long jumper at Akron.

    “We have a bond over the high jump; sports really,” Sumser said. “I knew he’d have my back and he’d be supportive. (His) care factor, and believing in myself. I can do whatever I put my mind to.

    “Coach Wagner and (boys assistant) coach (Christian) Booze and God have my back no matter what.”

    Those connections helped put Sumser in position to succeed, but as the wins piled up, those same connections and those Sumser shared with his teammates, helped alleviate the stresses of competing.

    “The fun I had with my teammates and coaches; you build a special bond with teammates and coaches that brought you that far," he said. "At the end of the day, there’s one goal and it’s not to win; it’s to make my coaches proud.

    "It’s a brotherhood in Bellevue and they’re key to our success. Our track coaches are some of the best coaches around. It’s like they’re your friends; they’re so driven for your success, it’s amazing.”

    In training, Sumser works to identify optimal movement and technique. Then, he practices repeating them to transform into the monster permanently.

    “I’ve always had bounce; I can jump high,” he said. “I had to fix mechanics. The coaches knew I had potential as a sophomore. My junior year, colleges realized the bars I was clearing. I grew a little more.”

    The growth spurt was a gift, but only because Sumser knew how to take advantage.

    “It wasn’t the new tools, it was the work," he said. "But my legs are stronger and I can run faster. It’s mental, you can’t look down on me (now).”

    As Sumser's body transformed, so did Bellevue’s record book. He cleared 6-5.25 at the Shelby Invitational to top the old mark of 6-5.

    “The high jump record meant a lot for me to be up on the banner in the school,” he said.

    He cleared 6-6 at Bellevue Elks, the final meet of the regular season. He tweaked his back in winning the long jump at the SBC meet and shut it down after a 6-3 jump.

    He cleared 6-5 at district, where he also was second in the long jump. He bumped the high jump record up to 6-7 at regionals, where he was also sixth in the long jump at 21-5.

    That puts him sixth all-time for Bellevue in the long jump. The record is 22. He was sixth at state in the long jump at 20-10 this year — his first trip to state.

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    But Sumser was undefeated in the high jump all season. He attributes the success to a mindset.

    “Staying focused, not getting to nervous,” he said. “Or too relaxed. Right in the middle. Do my best and make my teammates proud. The first meet, I jumped six feet. I knew that wasn’t my best. I kept training, I got to 6-9 and won state.

    “It was an amazing experience. I put the work in to reach that level. (A state championship) was one of the main goals at the beginning of the season. The school record, a postseason run and score as many points for my team as I can.”

    That’s why Sumser added the 4x100 relay to the high and long jumps midway through his senior season.

    “I figured I’d be pretty good,” he said. “I asked my coaches. It was just as fun as the high jump.”

    Sumser intends to continue his career in college. His options include Division I programs. He hasn't picked a school yet, but, “It’s one of the main things on my mind,” he said.

    As for reflecting on his high school career, when did Sumser believe he could reach uncharted heights for Bellevue?

    “The school record; I knew it was possible,” he said. “I didn’t want to put pressure on myself or jinx it, but I believed. For state, I wanted to go. I stepped on the field, said a prayer and I had a chance. Even if I did make state, there was no guarantee I’d win.

    "I sent a prayer up and did my best.”


    X: @MatthewHornNH

    This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Bellevue's Wyatt Sumser turned into jumps 'beast' with hard work, boost from growth spurt

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