Mike Weiss' ability to run nearly as fast as a speeding bullet enabled him to qualify for the Class AA state track and field meet in four events as a freshman and sophomore.
In 1999, he was a member of the 4x200 relay that placed third at state. Last June he finished fourth with the 4x400 relay, 11th with the 4x200 relay and 12th in the 400 dash.
Weiss was aiming for another trip to state as a sprinter this spring. Unfortunately, in the first indoor meet March 24, he pulled his right hamstring. About six weeks later he pulled it again in an outdoor meet, ending his hopes to return to sprinting.
"It was disappointing," Weiss said. "I've been down to the state meet and figured that was my ticket."
Mike Weiss profile
Sport -- Track and field
Events -- Shot put, discus
Year -- Junior
Age -- 17
Height -- 6-foot-1
Weight -- 215 pounds
Other sports -- Football
Grade-point average -- 3.4
Memorable sports achievement -- Fourth place on 4x400 relay at state track meet last year
School activities -- Intramural hockey, intramural volleyball
Favorite subject -- English
Favorite food -- Raisin Bran
Favorite movie -- "Braveheart"
Hobbies -- Swimming, golf
Future plans -- Attend four-year college, play football, possibly pursue degree in secondary education
Athlete he admires -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott
Parents -- Kay Weiss and Dale Weiss
Undaunted, Weiss turned his attention to throwing the shot put and discus, which turned out to be his ticket to this weekend's state meet at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
At last weekend's Section 8AA meet he qualified for state in both events, heaving the shot put 47 feet, 5 inches, and the discus 146-0 to finish second in both. His distance in the discus was eighth in Warriors history.
In the section shot put, Weiss finished behind Trent Christensen of Thief River Falls who tossed it 50-7 1/2.
"Everyone knew he was pretty much in," Weiss said of Christensen. "Other than that it was pretty wide open. There were five other guys who had previously marked a throw over 47. I kind of got lucky, I threw the farthest 47-footer."
In the section discus, Weiss finished behind Jake Stock of Sartell-St. Stephen who threw it 150-0.
"Of everyone in the finals, two of them were around 135," Weiss said. "There were like six at 140. The kid from Sartell popped a good one into the wind. That got him in. On my fifth throw, it was getting toward the end, I got one off of 146 that snuck me in."
Warriors assistant Chet Stevenson, who coaches field events, said Weiss isn't the first Warrior to crossover from sprinting to field events and have success.
"A lot of times a kid that is a pretty good sprinter, that gets a little too large for a sprinter-type, will wind up being a great thrower because great throwers are ballistic and fast," Stevenson said.
"Actually, most great throwers are borderline sprinters," Stevenson added. "I liken it to (former Warrior) Chris French. He was a jumper and sprinter. All of a sudden his junior year he won the shot put and discus at the conference meet and wound up going to state.
"Mike had thrown in junior high so he had a little base. He adapted to what he could do. He always had an interest in throwing. The pulled hamstring facilitated the desire to a throw a little bit. Mike has been able to convert very quickly. That's a testament to how great an athlete he is."
Last fall, Weiss was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Warriors' football team and their third-leading tackler as a linebacker. As a sophomore he wrestled and as an eighth-grader he played baseball.
He is being recruited by Division I football programs. He will attend Nebraska's camp after the state track meet. He is hearing from Minnesota, Northwestern, Colorado, Stanford and Ivy League schools as well as North Dakota State.
Stevenson said Weiss' ability and academic prowess (he scored 25 on his ACT), in addition to his leadership qualities, make him a potential Division I recruit.
"What makes him not just simply a great athlete but a great leader is the fact he led on the track before," Stevenson said. "Some kids would give up. They would be resigned to the fact they weren't going to have a spring. Mike not only didn't give up but he turned it into success. As a result he will be one of our captains next spring.
"That's what characterizes Mike beyond a great athlete. He's a great leader. He does some quality things behind the scenes. As a junior he certainly is a leader in the eyes of most track athletes."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Matt Means, baseball, raised his record to 7-0 with a 6-3 win over Apollo in the subsection championship game.
Justin Grunewald, track, was second in the section 3200-meter run and qualified for state.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club.)
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