HERALD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: GLENBROOK SOUTH'S RYAN FAUT
Throughout the 2021 boys track and field season, Glenbrook South senior Ryan Faut was among the state's premier competitors in discus and shot put.
At the Illinois High School Association Class 3A Track & Field State Finals on June 19 in Charleston, Faut surged to the top.
On the third of four throws in the discus cage just outside of Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field, Faut uncorked a school-record throw of 178 feet, 11 inches, or 54.54 meters.
Seeded fifth, he had to wait as more than a full round of opponents attempted to surpass his mark.
None did, and Faut became Glenbrook South's fifth state champion in boys track and field (sprinter Colin Hepburn did it twice) and the first in discus since Jim Blondell in 1983.
"I've been working hard, lifting, throwing over the summer, stuff like that. It pays off in the end, and it's pretty satisfying," Faut said after his Titans teammates swarmed him in congratulations.
Surpassing the prior school record of 178 feet, 7 inches, set by Max Leonard's fifth-place throw at the 2012 state meet, Faut also placed sixth in 3A shot put at 16.56 meters, about 54 feet, 4 inches.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander helped Glenbrook South place fifth in the Class 3A team standings, the Titans' first top-10 finish.
"Ryan is the greatest thrower that ever went to Glenbrook South," Titans throws coach Shawn Schleizer said after Faut's discus win. "All-state in the shot put, all-state in the discus, school record-holder in the discus and second all-time in the shot."
Picking up the throws as a sophomore, with no junior season due to the COVID pandemic and no senior indoor season in shot put, he's still headed to throw at the University of South Alabama -- which in June produced an NCAA Division I second-team All-American male discus thrower and a female finalist in the hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Faut earned it through hard work, a strong, athletic build, long levers, dedication and attention to detail.
"Ryan showed up if it was cold, hot, windy, rainy, it didn't matter. Ryan loves to throw, and became a student of the sport," said Glenbrook South coach Kurt Hasenstein, who also credited Schleizer's tutelage.
"Becoming a state champion, considering he only had one full season as a thrower before this year, is an amazing feat in such a technical event. Ryan was a coach's dream -- a gifted athlete with a great work ethic. It's hard to beat that combination," Hasenstein said.