LONGMONT — This is the spring that Silver Creek senior Brock Knechtel expects to make the biggest leap forward of his prep discus career.
As a junior in 2016, Knechtel threw 157 feet, 6 inches at the state championships to place fourth in all of Class 4A. Based on where he ended last season, any significant improvement could make the 2017 campaign a truly memorable
"My goal is to win state," Knechtel said. "We've been talking and I've been doing a lot more drill work this year. I'm working really hard to get to my goals."
In a sport where the most important, and hardest, thing to do is to be at your best when it matters most, the truth is that Knechtel didn't have his best day at Jefferson County Stadium last season. Since then, he has been working to improve his consistency and his mental preparation so that this season he can deliver the prime performance he will likely need to accomplish his goal.
Knechtel's PR in competition is 160 at the moment and he has thrown up to 170 in practice. His goal is to get up to 185, which he believes should be enough to win state. To reach that mark, he has been working with several coaches including his mother, who held her own high school discus record until last year, and has coached him since he took up the sport in seventh grade.
"My mom was like, 'Well if you're going to do track, you should try discus,'" Knechtel said. "I didn't throw my PR at state because I was a little nervous. If I had thrown my PR, I would have gotten second. I'm going to start working with a psychology coach so that I can get better at calming myself and focusing so that I can be my best in those moments."
The 6-foot, 200-pound senior said he hopes to throw in college. He has been in contact with several schools, many of which have told him they'd like to see him break 180 if they were to make him an offer. Joining the Silver Creek program as head coach in 2017, veteran track coach Craig Sherman may be able to help.
Sherman has coached track and field at the high school, collegiate or professional levels for 40 years. He has sent two qualifiers to the Olympic trials, coached 10 All-American college athletes and 51 all-state high school athletes.
"I do a lot of video analysis coming in and I have a lot of good connections in the upper levels of coaching," Sherman said. "I sent a video off and we've been working on a couple things. He's already made some great improvements and I think you'll see some really good stuff out of him this season."