Reaching new heights | NevadaAppeal.com

Reaching new heights

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

Fallon senior Nathan Heck clears the bar during the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday near Los Angeles. Heck broke the school record with a height of 15 feet, 1 inch.

Two of Fallon's best are headed to the largest track meet in the world.

On Saturday, Nathan Heck and T.J. Mauga will compete at the Mt. SAC Relays near Los Angeles.

The meet has more than 13,500 athletes from the prep, collegiate and professional ranks compete over three weekends.

Mauga, who will throw the discus, was accepted into the meet's second-highest level, the seeded division, while Heck, a pole vaulter, was grouped in the top class — the invitational.

Both are coming off showings at another massive meet, the Arcadia Invitational, which is also near L.A.

"This meet (Mt. SAC) is even bigger than the last one, so that will be exciting," Heck said. "I'm just going to work on a few more things. I'm going to treat as I did last week and just go out there and do my best."

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Heck cleared 15 feet, 1 inch (4.59 meters) to set a new school record in the pole vault on Saturday.

He finished ninth based on misses, although Heck tied with seven others including Moapa Valley's Caleb Witsken. Only three other vaulters recorded better heights in the varsity division.

Heck nearly cleared 15-7, but his shoulder knocked off the bar in his final attempt at the height.

"I was feeling real good that day," he said. "My first two attempts (at 15-7) it was fixing a few different things to get higher. The last attempt I moved up (the grip) a little bit more and I was right there."

Mauga finished seventh in his flight of the discus. Mauga scratched on two of his three throws but came away with a distance of 131-9.

"I was a little anxious at the beginning," Mauga said. "I really messed up my rotation. I just have to try and work on it this week."

The Arcadia meet was Mauga's first experience at a large-scale track meet (even larger than the Nevada state meet) and gave him a taste of how to prepare for the Mt. SAC Relays.

"It was exciting and got to see kids from all over the country and the world," he added. "I also got to see a kid throw 71 feet in the shot put, so that was pretty cool."

Many of the throwers in attendance are headed to compete in college, and as such, Mauga said he studies their approach in the ring.

Mostly, he explained, the focus is on their technique. But now, he is focused on this week's meet with the hopes of a better result.

"Thanks to last week, I will be more focused throughout the week and track meet," Mauga said.

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