What do all three sports have in common? It’s lessons learned in each that’s helped Wheeler become the athlete he is, he said.
“It teaches you hard work in different areas,” Wheeler said. “You can branch out and be a multi-tasker. … I do track because of throwing and I ran (the 100 meters and the 4×100 relay) to get faster for football. I do wrestling because I like wrestling, but it’s also got me better for football and got my feet faster for track. Each sport helps out the other one and I think the three-sport athletes are more well-rounded people.”
For the record, Wheeler played four sports — football, wrestling, baseball and track and field — in four years at Hockinson. In 2021, he shifted his spring focus to track and field, and quickly launched into elite status in the javelin.
His throw of 201 feet, 4 inches at last month’s district meet in Shelton ranked Wheeler 14th in the country and was one of 15 throwers nationwide to hit the 200-foot benchmark this spring. It’s an accomplishment Wheeler is proud of — same goes for his nearly perfect wrestling season in what he calls his third-best sport.
But it’s track and field that runs deep in Wheeler’s family. His grandfather, Kelly Rankin, was the head starter for track and field at two Olympic Games, and his mother, Rachel, was a javelin state placer at Fort Vancouver High and also threw javelin for Washington State.