A second place finish in the conference meet would normally indicate a season-long body of hard work in an event that a competitor has been practicing for years. For junior javelin thrower Jonas Mack, this was not the case.
“I started four weeks ago,” Mack said.
Despite his inexperience, Mack shined during the Midwest Conference Track and Field Championships this weekend. His throw of 162 feet three inches placed second in the javelin, the highest finish for Knox at the event hosted by St. Norbert on May 12.
Though the result was in some ways a surprise to Mack, it was something he had been looking forward to much earlier than just a month ago.
“I wanted to throw from the beginning of the season, but sprinting and long jumping took priority for the team,” Mack said. “The plan was to have me start over next winter, but they went ahead and let me try it one week. I picked it up really fast, so they finally let me go to a meet.”
Mack was supposed to debut in the javelin during the I.C. True Blue Open, but the second day of the competition was rained out, leaving him with another week of practice.
After a solid showing at the Fighting Scot Invite on May 5, Mack was primed for a breakout performance in DePere.
In addition to the performance in the javelin, Mack finished with career best in the long jump and the 100 meter dash. He was also a member of the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay teams, which each scored points for the men’s team.
Despite the intense schedule, Mack has embraced the challenge, vying to compete in even more events next season.
“I would definitely like to do more events. At a regular meet I’ll be doing at least five events, and I plan adding one or two more before next year,” he said.
And as far as pressure on improving after such a solid performance in his junior season, Mack is also immune.
“All [pressure] is motivation. I know that I threw really well at conference, and now I’ll be working towards beating it. I have all of next year to work on it, and I plan on getter better every day,” he said.
Knox’s other medal in the men’s competition came from sophomore Gabe Moreno, who finished third in the 10K run. Sophmore Weston Chenowith added a fifth place finish in the javelin.
On the women’s side, sophomore Catie McLaughlin and senior Emma Swanson led the Prairie Fire, finishing fourth in the javelin and fifth in the 400 meter hurdles respectively.
Knox finished eighth overall in the men’s competition, while the women’s team took ninth. Monmouth College topped the standings for both championships,
“No matter what our place was, our team performed great,” Mack said. “There were a lot people that made improvement over the course of the year. It was a great experience as a first-time track team member.”