Ottawa High School senior Dallas Natt had made his recruiting trip to Pittsburg State University.
He was still mulling over his options. He went back with a friend to look at the school.
While there, they were approached in the PSU library by a student with a TV camera. He asked them about the library. Natt told him they were not students, but were on a recruiting trip.
He put the camera down and began to sell them on the school.
“He dropped his camera and said ‘come to school here. You will not regret it.’ That is when it sunk in. It hit me, Natt said.”
It did not hurt that the Gorilla men’s track program is tradition-rich in the triple jump and long jump, the events Natt is strong in.
Natt made it official Wednesday when he signed with the Pittsburg State track team.
He said he wanted to thank God for giving him the ability and this opportunity.
Natt is the two-time defending 4A state champion in the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 46 feet, 6.5 inches.
He set that mark last May at the state meet.
The Cyclone also placed second in the long jump at 22-7.5, his best jump of his career.
Natt said the Gorilla coaches want him to compete in both events for them.
“They told me ‘come in and be ready to do both. Know your steps in triple jump and long jump,’” Natt said. “They will teach me the rest.”
The PSU track programs are led by coach Russ Jewett, who has been the men’s coach the past 23 seasons.
Natt said Jewett did not mess around during the recruiting trip.
“The guy was straight and up front with me,” Natt said. “He was not cutting any corners. We want you. We want to make you a 50-foot triple jumper. He wants to me to be a national contender. He made it clear ... I could be that person.”
Natt received recruiting attention from NCAA Division I programs such as Alabama, Arkansas and Miami. He felt Pittsburg was the place for him.
“They made me feel at home,” he said. “It is wonderful to be apart of a great program.”
Natt entered high school expecting to be a college basketball player, but things changed as his ability grew in track.
“My track kept growing,” Natt said. “Coach [Mark] Laws kept pushing me. He was behind me 100 percent.”
Laws said Natt is far from growing as a track athlete.
“He is a great competitor,” Laws said. “He has raised the bar for our program. It says a lot for him to stay consistent. It is not a given. He has to earn it.
“It is kind of special.”