Teutopolis state champion discus thrower Joe Kingery will be participating at the highest collegiate level next season after signing with Illinois State University.

However, Kingery was initially intent on attending Grand Valley State, a Division II school up in Michigan. But after finding out the head track coach had quit, Kingery shifted his commitment to the Redbirds.

"What's weird is that I actually chose Grand Valley State," Kingery said. "Come the end of the season, I found out that the coach had quit, so I decided to commit to Illinois State instead and go Division I. Jeff Rebholz of Illinois State seems like a really nice guy. I've been talking to him for awhile now. I'm really looking forward to working with him."

While Kingery knows the level of competition he'll come across at the higher level, he says he looks forward to it making him better.

"It's a little daunting," Kingery said. "Some marks that would be really good in Division II sometimes aren't up to par in Division I.

"The competition is going to be a lot better, but that's something I actually look forward to. I look forward to having really great competition to help push me to become a better athlete."

Kingery also said that he already has cultivated a few relationships with people he's competed against at the high school level that will be joining him at Illinois State.

"We've always been friends and helped each other out,' Kingery said. "I'm looking forward to meeting new friends and giving them some tips, have them give me some tips and just help build each other up."

While at Illinois State, Kingery will study Kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movements.

"I've always been into fitness," Kingery said. "I figured it would be a really good career path. I've always had this dream of owning my own gym and being a throwing and weightlifting coach, kind of like my coach now Dane Miller. It's just something I'm trying to work toward."