Great Bend’s Jayce Brack took his first trip to the Kansas Relays this year, competing as a junior in both discus and shot put against some of the best athletes in the country.
“There are competitive throwers in the track meets we go to, but I haven’t ever been to a track meet that has that many people who were throwing that far and have that big of marks,” Brack said.
His best event of the meet was shot put. He took third overall with a throw of 57f-11. However his best throw so far this season was 59 feet, the third longest throw in the state and the top throw in 5A.
“It’s a cool feeling, definitely not where I want to be at” Brack said. “At the end of the season I’d love to be in the 63 range.”
Brack is trying to balance the two events. He started track in seventh grade and says that he initially found the most success in discus, but lately it’s been shot put where he’s had his best throws. Brack says that the approach to his two specialties can be a little different.
“There’s certain aspects that carry over to each other, but shot put’s always been one of those events where you can just grit your teeth and throw it a little harder and sometimes it goes for you” Brack said. “Discus is more of a finicky, finesse type event and you kind of have to be more relaxed.”
Throwing coach Cliff Burt says his work ethic is what has brought the junior the success.
"I think he's been a better worker than about anybody I've ever coached," Burt said. "I've coached some good athlete and he's kind of got a passion for it."
Brack, however, attributes a lot of his success to coach Burt, who currently holds the school record in the shot put.
“It’s awesome, I really enjoy having coach Burt,” Brack said. He’s really does know what he’s talking about and he’s a genuine person who really cares not only how his athletes perform, but them as people, too.”
If Brack meets his goal of throwing 63 feet in shot put he would beat the 61-3 mark his coach made in the 1970's. However, Burt says he wouldn't mind seeing his name taken down.
"I'd be thrilled," Burt said. "I think that would be wonderful, because if he breaks it would be there for a long, long time."
Brack still has another full year of high school ahead of him and still has some time to decide what he wants to do after he graduates. He is also a defensive lineman in football, but says he is thinking about possibly taking his track career to the next level. And while his coach believes he can make the jump if he wants, Burt also says it's who he is, not the distance he can throw that really matters.
"More than anything, he is a good person," Burt said. "He cares about what he's doing and cares about other people."