Stansbury High School senior Jared Brown comes from a line of shot put athletes. Jared grew up hearing the story of how his grandfather Ralph Brown set the Tooele High School record for shot put at 50 feet in 1961. Ralph’s record was broken a few years later by another athlete.
In 1990, the Brown family reclaimed the Tooele school record. This time, it was Ralph’s son Kelly — Jared’s father — who set a new record at 56 feet.
Kelly’s record still stands today, and Jared has set his sights on beating it.
Earlier this year, Jared set two new distance records for Stansbury High School — one for putting the shot put and another for throwing the discus. His shot put record is 52 feet, and he’s still throwing strong, his father said.
“We’re hoping that he can keep pushing it [the distance] up in his next three meets,” Kelly said, who works as one of Stansbury’s throwing coaches.
Officially, Kelly has coached his son in shot put and discus for the past two years. Unofficially, he’s coached him since Jared was in junior high school.
“I think we started getting him to practice in seventh grade,” Kelly said. “We even had a little six-pound shot put he could throw around when he was in sixth or seventh grade.”
Shot put has been a family tradition since Ralph was introduced to the sport at a junior high school pentathlon.
“A pentathlon is [a contest with] five events,” Ralph said. “They used to do that in high school and junior high, and shot put was one of them [the events]. That’s when I started throwing it.”
Ralph was one of the smallest boys on his team at 5 feet 6 inches and about 130 pounds, but what he lacked in size he made up for in strength and determination.
“I just stuck with it through high school,” he said. “I was the smallest one every time. … Some of my friends would get mad at me because they were big old linemen and here I was like 130 pounds and I could outthrow them.”
Like Jared, Kelly grew up hearing the story of how his father set a Tooele High School record. He remembered always wanting to follow in Ralph’s footsteps.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to beat my dad’s record,” Kelly said. “I started to practice throwing the shot put in eighth grade and finally beat it [his record] in my senior year.”
It’s been fun for Kelly and Ralph to watch Jared take up the shot put after them.
“We just kind of kept it in the family,” Kelly said. “We’ve helped each other out, trained each other, and just had a lot of fun.”
Now that Jared holds the shot put record for Stansbury High School, the three Browns also have the distinction of each being a record holder.
Kelly and Ralph are proud of the way Jared has worked to get to this point. In a sport where strength is everything, athletes put in countless time lifting weights.
Kelly and Jared have spent hours together in the weight room, doing whole body workouts to build up Jared’s strength.
“He’s … gotten lot stronger,” Kelly said. “In the weight room last year, he was benching about 285 and now he’s pushing about 350 on the bench press.”
They’ve also spent a lot of time putting the 12-pound steel ball. Jared shot puts using the rotational technique, while his father and grandfather throw with the glide technique.
“He’s [Jared has] had to learn a little differently,” Kelly said. “He always felt he got more distance that way.”
Ralph enjoys watching his grandson throw, both in practice or at meets.
“Jared … is dedicated,” he said. “He’s got a shot put ring in his backyard. His dad poured a cement pad and he’s got record markers stuck out there and he practices all the time. I even see him in the winter months out there practicing.”
With two meets left in the season, Kelly and Ralph are excited to see what happens next. Most recently, Jared placed fifth in shot put at the BYU Invitational meet on Saturday with a distance of 49-7 ¼ feet.
The invitational provides an extra challenge to high school athletes because they’re pitted against a wider pool of competitors. Instead of facing only athletes from other 4A schools, the teens compete against athletes in all 4A-6A schools.
“At BYU you’re going against a lot more kids, so there’s a lot more competition because there are so many more kids involved,” Kelly said.
This weekend, the Stallions will compete in the 4A region championship. The state meet comes next.
It’s been a fun ride for Kelly.
“It’s kind of fun to see each generation do it,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe one day Jared’s kid will do it.”