State track and field partcipants from Zion Lutheran School in Beecher include Nathan Smith (from left), Jacob Mills and Riley Koehn. Mills finished first in the discus. | Supplied photo
Updated: July 16, 2014 6:14AM
Zion Lutheran School in Beecher recently participated in the Lutheran Sports Association state competition for track and field at Concordia University in River Forest. As a team, Zion placed 19th out of 32 schools.
Riley Koehn, Zion eighth-grade student, placed 12th out of 21 for shot put with a throw of 34 feet, 1.50 inches. Nathan Smith, a Zion eighth-grade student, tied for 11th out of 22 for high jump with a jump of 4 feet, 10 inches.
Jacob Mills placed first out of 34 for discus with a throw of 127 feet, 9 inches and 21st in shot put with a mark of 31 feet, 7.05 inches.
Last year, Jacob was 33rd out of 35 throwers. When his parents asked if he wanted to continue, Jake told them yes. He committed to coming back this year with a statement, which he did. Jake was ranked No. 1 going into the state meet out of all Lutheran schools in Illinois.
After receiving straight A’s last year, Jake’s parents wanted to do something special for him. Jake asked for a cement throwing pad for the yard so he had a place to practice. One-hundred thirty bags of cement later, practice continued.
Jake’s year-round training — throwing in rain, high wind and snow — has paid off with first-place results.
The day after the state meet, Jake started practicing for high school, using the next size (1.6 kg) discus. When asked about future goals, Jake had a simple one-word answer: “Olympics.”