By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — Jesse Westmeyer sees his future at Hillsdale College.
And they see the future in him.
Recently, the Troy High School senior signed his national letter of intent to throw the shot put and discus for the Hillsdale College track and field team. Westmeyer said the Chargers are not necessarily looking at him as a finished product, but see plenty of potential, especially considering his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame.
“The coaches told me they were impressed with my build and impressed with what I could do,” said Westmeyer, who also played offensive line for the Troy football team last fall. “They said they’d love to see what I could do when I get to college. They have put a lot of faith in me, and I’m not going to let them down.”
Westmeyer spent the early part of his career battling injuries, missing both his sophomore and junior football seasons, when he was expected to battle for a starting role on the offensive line both seasons. He finally was healthy by the time track season rolled around last spring and had a solid season, missing a spot at regionals in the discus by one place. He’s continued to improve since then, qualifying for the state indoor meet in the shot put over the winter.
“My definite love is track,” Westmeyer said. “Football came with a lot of injuries. I fell in love with track. You get out of it what you put into it. If you do the lifting and work on your technique, its shows pretty quickly.”
Troy throwing coach and strength coach Aaron Gibbons said he can see the work Westmeyer has put in paying off and said Hillsdale is getting a thrower with unlimited potential.
“He really embraced the weight room over the winter,” Gibbons said. “You can see he’s totally transformed himself. He’s always one of the last ones to leave; he always wants to get those extra reps. He’s in a pretty unique situation, because of the body type he has. He’s 240 pounds now and I think a college can put another 30 to 40 pounds of lean muscle mass on him and his future is really unlimited.
“I think they are getting a real steal. A lot of times, track programs don’t get kids Jesse’s size because kids that big and that tall are usually going to college to play football. You don’t see kids Jesse’s size going to college just to do track very often. Plus, they are getting a great student. The fact he’s going to Hillsdale says a lot about what kind of student he is. That’s a tough school to get into.”
In fact, Westmeyer — who plans to study biology/pre-med at Hillsdale — said the school’s academic reputation was every bit as important as its athletic credentials.
“That was very important to me,” he said. “They are going to set me up to be successful after college, too.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong