When the Nebraska state track meet starts Friday, a lot of eyes will be on Wayne's Grant Anderson. The senior has the top high jump in the state this year, at 7-feet even, a leap that got the attention of the coaches at the University of Nebraska.
Before the Mid-State Conference meet on April 25th, Anderson's top high jump effort was 6-feet-7. He went from a good jumper to a division one recruit in one night, breaking a 27-year old school record, and setting a new conference mark, at 7-feet even.
"I was just shooting for 6'8" or 6'9" so I could get the school record," said Anderson. "Then I just kept on going and would never hit the bar and I was like 'when is this going to stop'. They asked me where I wanted to put it and I said put it at seven feet and I kind of started to laugh. I was like, that's not possible. Then we put it up to seven feet and I then I got it."
"It was one of those days where everything was on. He recognized that and said everything's feeling good today," said Wayne Head Coach Dale Hochstein. "He said let's go to seven and we said that's fine, you've got it down today. We've got good conditions so go for it and he did."
Anderson had not competed in track since his freshman year when his best jump was 5-6. When he came back to the sport for his senior season, he hoped to top 5-10. But his goals quickly changed.
"We were doing short approaches, with a couple of steps, and I was getting 5-10 already right there," said Anderson. "The first meet when I got 6-4 and had awful form, I was like, I could go pretty high."
"I don't have to coach him much. When he goes over the bar and he has something go wrong, he gets off the mat and says 'this is what I did'. He's on auto pilot for the most part. I'm just there to give encouragement," said jump coach Mike Jaixen."
Anderson was going to study at Nebraska in the fall, and leave athletics behind. But his scholarship offer from the Cornhuskers made him Wayne High's first NCAA Division one recruit in eight years.
"We contacted them and they were really excited," said Anderson. "I think they were going to offer me a scholarship right there. Then they called me again just to go over some things and I told them I jumped 7-foot and he went crazy. That pretty much sealed the deal from walking on to getting a scholarship."
"My dream, and I haven't told him that yet, is I could see him in the Olympics," said Hochstein. "I could see him going over the 7-4 that's needed to qualify for the Olympics and go from there."
The all-time Nebraska state record in the high jump is 7'4", the Class B record is 7'2". The Nebraska state meet runs Friday and Saturday at Burke Stadium in Omaha. The Iowa state meet starts Thursday in Des Moines.
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