Shelby-Rising City track and field head coach Terry Chadek lays awake at night with a problem he's always pondering. Just what is he to do with Mason Schleis?
Scheis isn't a troublemaker nor a slouch. He's not late for practice nor focused on something else while training. He's just too darned versatile for Chadek to ever feel completely comfortable he's chosen the right events for an athlete who can do just about anything.
Schleis has qualified for the track and field state championships the last three years and will represent S-RC in the championships again this year on Friday and Saturday in Omaha.
"He's one of those kids that's a dream and a nightmare," Chadek said. "He's a dream because you can put him in about any event, the nightmare is you're not sure which ones are his best events. I think if he threw the shot or discus, or high jumped, he could do all those things."
Schleis qualified for triple jump his freshman, sophomore and junior year and took seventh place last year.
He's qualified in the 1600 his sophomore and junior year. Last year he also competed in the long jump and 400 relay.
"If there was a decathlon in high school he would be excellent at that," Chadek said. "He's just a hard worker. The kid is very athletic. He's got a lot of natural ability and he works hard."
Schleis holds the school record for pole vault - an event he's not even competing in this year.
"He doesn't talk a whole lot," Chadek said said. "You ask him to do something and he'll do it. He's a good leader with his work ethic. Not a big talker though. He's not going to be one of your guys doing the hooting and hollering. He just leads in different ways. Just more by example and his performance than anything else."
During the district championship on May 10 Schleis competed in the long jump, 200, 400 and 1600 relay and qualified each for state.
His 200 run was the first of his high school career. He edged out a win and yet another gold medal.
"Hopefully we can keep it up," Schleis said. "We've had a good year. I just hope to keep it rolling. Just do what I've been doing and get the result.
While Schleis has qualified for state the last three years in triple jump, his coaches believed that he would have a better chance to score points in other events at state. Schleis agreed to not compete in the triple jump in an effort to do what's best for the team.
"You can ask him to do anything in track," Chadek said. "We've had him do all kinds of events in track. He's willing to do things. He's a coachable kid. He's open to doing whatever you want him to do as a coach. You don't get a lot of kids like that today."
While Schleis is willing to do whatever the Huskies need, he does have some events he likes more than others. Schleis said he enjoys the jumps, but his favorite event is the 1600 relay because of the team aspect of the event.
His favorite track memory comes from districts last year when he saw a teammate cross the finish line in the 1600 relay clinching Schleis a spot at state in the maximum of four events.
Schleis hopes this year's 1600 team can bring back some hardware from Omaha.
Schleis' plans for next year include attending Concordia University where he'll compete in track and field with a hope also to walk on to the football team.
He plans on studying accounting.
"He's really good in the classroom and he's really good in athletics," Chadek said. "I think Mason will be successful no matter what profession he picks. I think he'll be successful in college track. They may have to narrow him down to what he's doing, what he's best at.
"That's not going to be an easy thing because he's really good at a lot things. He might end up being a decathlete in college. I think he could handle that. He's just an overall good kid. I think he would be successful not matter what he does."
Schleis said he looks forward to the college experience.
"It's definitely exciting," he said. "I'm excited to see what improvements come and how good I can do."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net