SPRINGFIELD–School is definitely out for summer, but not if you qualified for Track and Field State Championships in Class 3-5. One of the literal biggest draws to the annual competition is Jackson Cantwell. Boasting the size and strength of Paul Bunyon, this freshman isn’t here to play games. He’s in the business of setting records and collecting titles.
“This sport is one of the hardest mental sports there is because it’s really just you versus you.”
Standing out from the crowd isn’t hard to do for Jackson Cantwell.
Whether it’s his 6’7, 285 pound frame, or his record setting throws in the shotput and discus, the 14-year old freshman for Nixa High School almost commands your attention.
“He’s a generational talent,” said Nixa Throwing coach, Kyle Nelson. “I’ve seen twice the amount of people at every throwing event just so they could watch him.”
As the son of two Olympic throwers, it comes as no surprise he’s already shattered school records and has his eyes set on much larger marks.
“Nixa has not been a throws mecca for very long, if at all until this year,” said Nixa freshman, Jackson Cantwell. “There’s a lot of other records I’m chasing after. It’s really humbling to get close to them because I was looking at them last year, like the state records, getting closer to the national record.”
After winning Friday’s Class 5 shotput state title with a meet-record throw over 64 feet, the young goliath is halfway home to accomplishing his lofty plan.
“The goal coming in was to try and win both and I would absolutely love to do that,” said Cantwell. “That’s been my main goal all year. The national records I’m chasing are kinda cool. But obviously to win state in both in 4 years would be absolutely incredible because I don’t think many people can say they’ve done that.”
Cantwell’s incredible size and strength also caught the attention of Division I football coaches. He’s already received a dozen offers from top-tier programs.
“When he was young I didn’t have any expectations, but now he’s far surpassed anything I did have and now, it’s I don’t know where it stops,” said Cantwell’s father, Christian. “But he’s done great and I don’t see why he can’t do anything else he wants to do.”
Cantwell will try to fulfill his goal on Saturday when he competes in the discus at 9:30 in the morning.