GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Competition brings out the best in Brent Wetovick. That much is obvious.
A sophomore at Class D Fullerton, Wetovick has the state’s fastest time this season in the boys 400.
At Monday’s Central Nebraska Track Championship, where he was named the meet’s outstanding male performer, he notched a pair of personal-best times by winning the 400 meters (49.76 seconds) and 800 (2:00.05).
“The only time you really get to see competition like this is here and at the state meet,” Wetovick said. “Just lining up in the blocks against kids from larger schools is just a huge adrenaline rush right there. It gets me going.”
Fullerton coach Ryan Haughton said Wetovick is just starting to get back to full strength after suffering with a head cold. Prior to the meet, Wetovick told Haughton he was feeling “90 to 95 percent.”
“We’ve been working toward this, and we talked about how if we got over here and it was a nice day on this great track in a great meet and have some kids really push him, this would really be the time to do it,” Haughton said. “A half an hour before the race, we were in the van and we caught a pretty good pump-up song from AC/DC, and right there, he slapped the dash and said, ‘I got it. I’m going to do it,’ and I didn’t have a doubt.”
In the 400, Wetovick held off second-place Jadyn Rodenbaugh of Grand Island Northwest down the stretch. The 6-foot-3 Wetovick’s time broke the school record of 50.0 set by Tim Rowert in 1970.
“It definitely helped to have great competition like Jadyn Rodenbaugh in that race,” Wetovick said. “I knew he was coming for me and that got me going a lot, so it helped a lot to have him pushing me. Coming down the stretch, I felt good.
“I saw the scoreboard clock ticking, but I didn’t stare up at it — even though I wanted to. Then, I could hear my coach and I’ve been waiting to hear him say, ‘Yes,’ when I finished the 400 instead of, ‘No.’ Coach Haughton has really been pulling for me. He puts a lot of time into me and I appreciate it.”
Despite a shorter-than-usual break between the 400 and 800, Wetovick was again in top form. His winning time of 2:00.05 bettered his previous best of 2:00.24.
“I tried to rest, threw up a little bit and I wasn’t feeling good at all after the 400,” Wetovick said. “But five or 10 minutes later, I was feeling better and then I was back on the track running again. I wasn’t feeling as a strong as I probably could’ve been, but then the adrenaline just took over.”