When Jacob Armbrust was 10 years old, he found a discus in the garage, and thought it was a Frisbee.
He soon realized, however, that it was much heavier than a Frisbee, and, if you wanted to make it soar through the air, you really had to know what you were doing.
So, he asked his dad about it.
From that moment on, Armbrust and his father, Robin, developed quite a bond over that “heavy Frisbee.”
They played with it for hours in the back yard. They hurled it into their neighbor’s empty field, and worked on the precise technique necessary to make it fly seemingly infinite distances.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Robin Armbrust once held the discus record at Richwoods High School “back in the stone age,” as he puts it, and that old discus in the garage was just waiting for its chance to fly again, this time at the hands of Jacob, who proved early on that he would throw it farther than his father ever did.
“I’m no longer the best discus thrower in the Armbrust family,” Robin said, laughing. “That’s OK with me. It’s been so much fun to watch Jacob. He’s worked hard at it, and I’m very proud of him, even if he did break all my records.”
Jacob, a senior who will attend Olivet Nazarene University in the fall, broke Jason Ulbricht’s Metamora school record (set in 2006) earlier this season. Less than a week later, he broke his own record at the Metamora Co-ed Invitational (an all-time meet record of 180’7”).
“That (breaking the school record) was a great feeling,” he said. “That was definitely one of my goals coming into this season.”
He has his sights set on a state title, which is well within his reach.
He finished third in the state last year. Five of the top 12, including state champion Brendan Duncan of Waterloo, are back this season.
“It will be tough. There’s a lot of good competition out there. The No. 1 seed is still a little bit ahead of me, but I think I can do it,” Armbrust said Wednesday. “I’ve been making a lot of progress this season.”
Armbrust practices every day, sometimes for three hours at a time. He said he constantly tries to master the intricate footwork necessary to get the most out of every throw.
“It’s a little more complicated than some people might think,” he said. “If you’re feet get messed up, then it’s not going to work.”
On Wednesday, Armbrust signed a letter-of-intent to attend Olivet Nazarene University in the fall. He will major in math education with hopes of becoming a teacher.
He said he is looking forward to competing in the shot put and discus at the college level.
“They have a great program there, and I really liked everything about the school when I visited there. I got a good feeling about it, and I felt that was where God was leading me to go,” he said.