MAY 17, 2021 — Jacob DeWilde made sure he did everything that he could to make Senior Night extra special with a throw that rewrote the track and field record books.
“I was just pumped up,” Jacob said. “I had a good breakfast, I felt really good and I was just ready to go. The phrase that was thrown around all day is ‘the stars aligned.’”
DeWilde uncorked a throw of 149-feet, 8-inches on his final attempt of the day to shatter the school discus record, breaking the previous mark of 143-6 set by Rob Rivera in 1986.
“He crushed it,” Midlakes track and field coach Julie Backus said.
“I tanked the first throw and got the nerves out,” said Jacob, whose previous best was 141 feet. “The second throw was 139, and the third throw I just hammered it home.”
Several members of Jacob’s family, including his parents David and Jeanne, two sisters, an aunt, and an uncle were there to see it.
“He knew right away when he threw it that it was a good one and our family tends to be very vocal, so there was a lot of ‘woot, wooting,’” said Jeanne, a 1982 Midlakes graduate who is working as a Board-approved volunteer coach with the track and field teams this year.
Both Jeanne, who set school records as a thrower that have since been surpassed, and Backus, who is in her 11th season as coach of the Screaming Eagles, credited Jacob for his work ethic.
“He’s very coachable,” Jeanne said. “He listens to what we say and he has the desire. He wants to do well.”
“His technique helps to set him apart,” Backus said. “He takes the time to learn the little nuances that go with being a thrower. And, he listens. Jake is very focused and very good.”
Jacob, who also competes in the shot put, has been throwing for six years and increased his training after the 2020 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He lifted weights and began working out with former SUNY Brockport standout Christian Johnson. His family also installed a discus circle in the backyard so Jacob could practice at home.
Jacob is quick to credit both his mother and Johnson for helping him reach new levels.
“It is integral,” he said of Johnson’s role in his progress. “She laid the foundation and he was the fine tuner. He came in and fixed everything that needed to be fixed.”
Jacob was tied for the second-best discus throw in Section V as of May 23, and plans to attend SUNY Brockport to continue his throwing career and study adolescent education. Before he does, he wants to win a sectional championship and breaking his discus record.
“I am this far away from 150,” Jacob said, raising his hand and holding his thumb and index finger four inches apart. “If I can go from 141 to 149, what is stopping me?”
Nothing, said Backus.
“He can do it,” Backus said. “Most of the meets left are big meets and he’ll have some good competition. He’ll be up for that.”
“I can’t tell you how proud his Dad and I both are,” Jeanne said. “Everything that we have talked about, he has put into place and for me to be able to work with him really is a joy.”
Having been a member of the Midlakes program for six years, Jacob has developed a passion for track and field while learning many life lessons.
“It’s the thrill of the accomplishment,” Jacob said when asked what he likes most about it. “Once you throw past and set a personal record, you feel great, and nobody can take it away from you.
“It’s all you and it is all for you. You earn everything you get in this sport.”