Springfield Track & Field Standout Pianka Saves His Best For Last

Publish Notes: 

The Shopper Bellows Falls, VT. July 6.2011

Springfield Track & Field Standout Pianka Saves His Best For Last

SPRINGFIELD, VT.- SpringfieldHigh School track and field stand-out Michael Pianka has had a very busy few weeks. At the recent Division III state championship meet in Chester,the senior set a state record in the high jump event with a six-foot-nine-inch leap, while also taking first place in the triple-jump event.

Photo by Becky Warner Thomas

Pianka would take second placeat states in the 300-meter hurdles, while breaking the Springfield High School record with a time of 42.31. Pianka was also a member of the 4x100-meter relay team which finished in second place overall. His coach is understadably pleased.

"Michael came in as a freshman,all arms and legs and with a lot of potential and a solid work ethic, but not much coordination. But he also did well, even as a freshman," Springfield High School track coach Josh Dikeman said in a recent interview. However,as Pianka grew into his body his sophomore year, both he and his coach began to realize his potential.

"He jumped six-feet-six-inchesat the freshman/sophomore invitational meet in Keene that season, but he was still inconsistent with his technique," coach Dikeman said. "But Michael really put in the work, spending a lot of time training one-on-one withmy assistant coach Kevin Spaulding. Both Dikeman and Spaulding graduated from Springfield High School in 2000, with Spaulding holding the school high jump record before his pupil, Michael, set the new mark.

"In addition to his naturaltalents and the work he put into refining the technical aspects of his jumping, Michael's confidence has grown tremendously over the past four years. I think that has played a big role in his breaking the state recordand winning at New England's (the New England High School Track and FieldChampionship). Pianka also broke two other Springfield High School records this year, including the triple-jump (42'6") and the 300-meter hurdles (42.31).

In another example of his dedicationto his sport, Michael missed his graduation ceremony in order to compete in the New England's, in which he won said boys' high jump competition with a leap of six-feet-seven. Pianka then competed in the Vermont State Decathlon in Chester, finishing third overall with 5,506 points. He alsoset that event's high jump record.

Moving forward, Pianka willbe attending Keene State College in the fall and will compete in track and field. "Michael is a terrific young man-not just a great athlete-but a great person too," coach Dikeman concluded.

"It's been a pleasure coachingMichael over the past four years and it's been fun to watch him evolveinto one of the top track and field athletes in the state. I am very much looking forward to following his progress next year at Keene State College."