Being a state champion wasn’t a new experience for Stew-Stras’ Jason Fry, as he won discus and shot put championships as a seventh grader in 2009.
To get to that point in high school in the shot put, it took some new levels of dedication.
That dedication also paid off in other ways, as Fry will be continuing his track career at Western Illinois Unversity next year.
He said he made the decision on April 19, a day before Easter, and the school felt right to him.
“They gave me a nice scholarship,” Fry said. “I loved it for the fact they had my classes, they’re small classes, a lot of one-on-one with the teachers. That’s kind of what we had at Stew-Stras, so it felt like I was at home.”
Fry’s journey to become a state champion and a Leatherneck involved turning his throwing into a year-round endeavor.
He said it was the first time he’d thrown year round, and it paid off immediately.
“We had tarps up on our shed, I was throwing against tarps, I was constantly throwing,” he said. “It’s made a world of difference, (setting a personal record) every other meet, that’s unheard of really. I found it easier as I went on to throw.”
Fry did set personal records time and time again, with his best shot put throw coming for the state championship with a distance of 56-08.25. His best discus throw was 171-06.5 before state, where he took third in Class 1A to round out his season.
Motivation came from the people he was competing against, and as his performances shot up, the realization that his work was paying off.
“What really motivated me was seeing other bigger throwers throw, and seeing what I could become,” Fry said. “When you get colleges calling you every other night, it makes you feel pretty good when they’re wanting you.”
Fry said he also enjoyed the coaching staff, headed up by David Beauchem in his fourth year as the team’s head coach. Now, the transition for Fry from being a Comet to a Leatherneck comes after a high school career capped off with a state title and a third-place finish in his pocket.
“It turned into something major and I ran with it,” he said. “I wanted to get somewhere with it.”