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Whitmer football star discovers talent for throwing shotput

13abc Athlete of the Week - Whitmer's Kevin Hornbeak
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 8:07 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When Kevin Hornbeak walked off the field following Whitmer’s loss to Marysville in the regional semifinal, he knew he didn’t want his high school career to be over. So with some time to kill before graduation, Hornbeak decided to try something new.

“I was actually going to play baseball, but I ended up talking to Coach Keller (Whitmer’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach). We have that bond that we could talk about anything, and he said to me, ‘you should go out for shot. You’re a very powerful person I’ve seen you on the field. You’d be good.”

It took just a single throw to prove Coach Keller was right.

“The very first throw was a power throw that had little to no form. And he threw it about 40 feet,” said Whitmer throws coach Robby Edwards. “I threw for a little while, and I threw a little bit over that, but the fact that he was throwing it standing, I knew there was something special there.”

But used to tossing footballs forty-plus yards, Hornbeak was less impressed.

“I thought that was kind of bad”, admitted Hornbeak, “but everybody’s like oh my god, you can be good, so I stuck with it.”

Practice has made almost perfect. Hornbeak was won all but two meets this season – placing second in the TRAC championship. His personal best for 54-feet, 11 inches came in a second-place finish at the Knight Relays on April 29th.

“I got to the EMU meet and I threw like 49 (feet)”, said Hornbeak, “I went up like a good seven feet and I was like, ‘I really need to stick with this’. So, after that I started seeing PRs and PRs and I was like, ‘yeah, I can be good.”

The competitive mindset from football has carried over and provided a solid foundation for Hornbeak’s budding shot-put career.

“To see how he competes when he’s put up against the wall when there are kids throwing further than him, and to see him rise to the moment and those big PRs when we need it, that’s huge,” said Edwards.

Hornbeak acknowledged that’s how he views competition, whether it’s on the gridiron or the circles. “I’ve got that mentality going in that I want to win,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re 70 feet, I’ll try to beat you no matter what.”

He may not be able to throw the shot-put as far as a football, but the sport he picked up just two months agon could land him further than he ever imagined.

“He came in unsure if he wanted to throw,” said Edwards. “Now we’re looking at college for him.”

“If it can take me to college then so be it,” Hornbeak said. “I just started but I have love for this sport.”

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