Alexandria's Heydt stuns Class AA triple jump field to win state championship
Alexandria's Will Heydt jumped over three feet further than his section qualifying length to win the state championship in the triple jump.
Alexandria's Will Heydt picked an excellent day to jump over 45 feet in the triple jump for the first time in his life.
In his first attempt, Heydt reached 45-feet, 4.5-inches to win the Class AA state championship. The mark shattered his section-qualifying length by over three feet.
"I practiced all week, and I couldn't hit 45-feet," Heydt said with a laugh. "It just felt good today, I guess. I really didn't think I was going to hit it at all."
Heydt competed in the first flight of triple jumpers, which meant he had to wait nearly an hour to find out if his score would be enough for a state championship. While the other athletes filed out of the area, Heydt went back-and-forth from the triple jump station to see where he stacked up.
"I could barely watch it," Heydt said. "I was so nervous I left like three times to get water. There were some good jumpers here, definitely. Any of them could've passed me."
After the final competitor landed in the sand for the last time, Heydt was unofficially crowned a state champion. Alexandria head coach Mike Empting rushed over to embrace his first-place winner.
"Each time they said a score, and it was 44-feet, it was a little weight lifted off me every time," Heydt said. "I mean, they could've pulled one out at any time, and that's really scary. It felt amazing when I saw the last guy go. I saw my coach, and he was all excited. I really didn't think this was going to happen."
In the Section 8AA meet, Heydt finished second behind Moorhead's George Nyanforh. (44-feet, 1-inch) with a length of 42-feet, 10.75-inches. Nyanforh took fourth at state at 44-feet, 8-inches.
Heydt's goal coming into Saturday's state meet was to crack a spot on the podium. His first-place try won by the slimmest of margins. Fridley's Anthony Borom's best attempt was a quarter of an inch short, clinching Heydt's first state championship.
"You always go for first, but I just wanted to get on the podium," Heydt said. "Standing on the podium and looking into the crowd was nothing like I've ever experienced before. There's nothing like standing there on at the top of the top."
Heydt, a junior, competed in his first-ever state meet. Despite competing against the other top athletes in Minnesota, they were happy for him to hit his milestone.
"I'm buddies with some of these guys from a lot of previous meets," Heydt said. "( Nyanforh) from Moorhead and (Ryan McDowell), who I just met from Stillwater, were all happy for me. I'm going to see them next year, hopefully. It's just a lot of fun. I can say that I'm a state champion now. It's just awesome, man."