How KSU’s Jake Wickey become one of the nation’s best throwers


Jake Wickey competes in the weight throw in a tri-meet against Akron and Buffalo at the Stille Fieldhouse in Akron. Jan. 22, 2021.

Ignatius Ogbu Sports Reporter

A year ago, Jake Wickey had never thrown the weight more than 22.24 meters. 

This year he hasn’t thrown it any less than 21 meters.

Wickey’s longest weight throw of 22.24 meter is the sixth best in the NCAA so far this season.

Wickey says that constant training, focus and motivation are what have helped him become one of the best weight throwers in the country in the early track and field season.

“I kind of changed up a lot of things — working out, eating healthier, trying to get myself into the right mindset,” Wickey said. “It all started back when everything got canceled because of COVID. We all got sent home. I was just at a standstill with my performance. I felt like I was letting myself down, and I was letting my coach down.”

When he got home, Wickey said, he weighed about 275 pounds, close to his highest ever.

So Wickey started running more, changed his diet and increased his weightlifting.


“I’m going to go out and dominate. I’m going to go beat everybody,” he started to tell himself.

Assistant track coach Nathan Fanger works withThe Kent State track team’s throwers.

“[Wickey] didn’t change the method of training, he is talented just trying to find who he was,” Fanger said. “He kind of grew up and realized that he had more potential than he was producing.”

When the season was canceled because of COVID-19, Wickey worked with Byron Melvin, a trainer he had worked with before at a gym near his hometown in Medina, Ohio. Melvin helped him improve his training and diet. 

“He made a new diet plan for me,” Wickey said. “It was definitely the diet that was the biggest one of the changes.” 

Wickey said he spent more time studying and learning more about his sport during the offseason. He did less socializing.

Wickey started weight throwing in ninth grade when he went to the camp at Ashland University where he met  Jud Logan, a former Kent state university athlete  and the Ashland head coach.

“He taught me how to throw back when I was first starting to learn how to throw,” Wickey said.

Wickey ranks sixth in the country in the weight throw. He was Mid-American Conference field athlete of the week Jan. 27.

“I’m proud of myself, and I’m making my coach proud,” Wickey said. 

Wickey changed his throwing technique between his first and second meets in January and improved his distance by more than a meter.

“I took my right foot and moved it back about eight inches,” Wickey said. “I can get the ball to go back a little bit farther so that once I start the motion of my throw, the ball” can go a longer distance.

Wickey’s goal is to reach throws of at least 70 meters consistently.

“That would really prove my ability to be able to run with the big dogs,” he said.

Wickey said he would like to break the school record of 74 feet this year and be a first-team all-American.

“I wish to be the best athlete I could ever,” he said.

Ignatius Ogbu is a sportswriter. Contact him at [email protected].