Toon eager for track season

Class of 2007 UW football commitment is striving for improvement in second year of high school track

The location for the first boys' varsity track meet of the season for Middleton (Wis.) High School — Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, site of the West Relays — is fitting for one of its top athletes, Nick Toon.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin football program last month, and will play his home games inside Camp Randall when he embarks on his collegiate career as a wide receiver.

In the here and now, however, Toon is a track athlete looking to improve upon an impressive season last spring — his first in track — when he qualified for the state championships in two sprint relays and the triple jump.

"Triple jump is my favorite event," Toon said, in a recent telephone interview. "Triple jump is my main thing and then… whatever the coaches want me to do I'll do for sprinting."

Last season, Toon ran on the Cardinals' state-qualifying 400- and 800-meter relays. His best mark in the triple jump — an event he had never participated in before — was 42 feet, 10 ½ inches, he said.

"Triple jump is kind of one of those things that you have to do everything right to be good at it," Toon said. "And last year was my first year doing it so I'm still learning a lot."

A gifted all-around athlete, Toon has also competed in the long jump and the open 100 and 200 meters. He hopes to specialize this year in the triple jump, open 100 or 200, and his two relays.

"Long jump is the pure athleticism and I think triple jump is exactly the same way as long jump… it's just more form-based," Toon said. "You have to practice it more than long jump.

"I think gifted long jumpers, just they know how to long jump. But to be a gifted triple jumper you have to have the gift to be able to jump and you have to want to work at your form and the little things."

Of course, to the Badgers' future benefit, Toon's athleticism, and his determination to work to improve his fundamental techniques, translates well to football. He said he has run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. More impressively, Toon has the highest bench press — 300 pounds — of any Middleton football player.

A 300-pound bench press is pretty impressive for any junior-class football player, and especially so for a 195-pound wide receiver.

"I love to lift weights," Toon said. "I think it's a very important part of football and I enjoy doing it so I think that's one of the reasons that my bench is so high."

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