SIU shot-putter stays with the flow, overachieves with his throw
Jared Kern said he can usually tell right away if he has made a good shot-put throw: It will feel fluid coming off his hand.
Judging by recent results, he has been feeling good lately. A junior with the Southern Illinois track and field team, Kern was ranked among the top throwers in Division I of the NCAA through April 28
According to athletic.net, Kern had the sixth-best throw in the country at 19.65 meters, or 64 feet, 5¾ inches, on April 7 at the Tennessee Relays in Knoxville. And that was just one of the highlights of his outdoor season. Kern earned two straight Missouri Valley Conference Field Athlete of the Week honors and set a shot-put meet record at the Lenny Lyles-Clark Wood Invitational on April 29 in Louisville, Kentucky, throwing 63-2¼.
“I think it's going good -- trying to do the best I can,” Kern told the Southwest Illinois News.
Although Kern had a solid track record of success in junior college, he did not expect the distances and personal records he has accomplished.
“I figured I'd be a 19.30-meter guy, but I've been well past that already,” Kern said.
Kern credited SIU assistant coach J.C. Lambert with providing the training and programming needed for improvement.
As a senior at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Kern finished fourth at the 2014 Illinois High School Association Class 3A State Championship. Then, while throwing for Lincoln College, he won the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I outdoor shot-put crown in 2016.
Kern did not waste much time making a mark on MVC track and field in his first outdoor season as a Saluki this year. At the Music City Challenge on February 11 in Nashville, Tennessee, his toss of 20.47 meters, or 67-2, set a new league indoor record. He won the conference indoor shot-put title on February 26 in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and went on to take fourth place at the national indoor meet on March 10 in College Station, Texas.
Kern said he started throwing competitively in eighth grade. He also ran track and used the sport to stay in shape for football.
“And then in high school, the throwing coach there said he sees more potential in me throwing, so I just stuck with throwing,” Kern said.
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