WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) — Watertown senior Cooper Mack isn’t just one of the best throwers in South Dakota, but is one of the top shot putters in the country. KELOLAND’s Tanner Castora has his story.
Coming from a family of throwers, Cooper Mack was introduced to track and field at very young age.
“I remember hating track meets because they were boring. I was like 5 and just always wanted food,” Mack said.
But by middle school Mack’s attitude toward the sport would change.
“I was pretty naturally decent at it 7th and 8th grade year and I could spend a lot of time with my family doing it. It was something we all kind of liked talking about and enjoyed doing so, I don’t know, I kind of just got addicted to it,” Mack said.
Not only did shot-put bring Cooper a new niche, but also a best friend.
“He was not an athletic kid in middle school, I’ll be honest. Like, that kid has worked his tail off to get to where he is. It’s honestly a blessing for all of us. We all get to come out here everyday and watch what he does and try and match his work ethic. So, it pushes us to be better athletes too,” Dean said.
With the pandemic putting a stop to most athletic events last season, Cooper and his dad went searching for opportunities.
“We went to the first outdoor meet of the year since everything was shut down. It was the Desert Dream meet in Arizona,” Mack said.
And trips to Las Vegas and Florida would follow and soon enough, Mack would land an offer from the University of Baylor where he’s currently committed to throw at next season.
“I wouldn’t be surprised that someday he stands on the podium at the NCAA national championship,” Weber said.
He currently holds the third farthest throw in the country for his age group at just over 67 feet. But with the way he treats his teammates, you’d never know it.
“You’ll see him out here and he’ll be throwing shots and then he’ll go out there and retrieve 4 more than what he threw. So, it’s kind of just, he’s one of the best character persons I’ve ever met. So, yea, awesome person to be around,” Dean said.
“He helps all the other kids. He can sit and talk to them and explain things about rotational shot-put and just the release, the turn, it’s just incredible,” Weber said.
“I try and surround myself with the people who want the best for me and I want the best for them. So, we kind of build each other up and I always have my eyes set on the future which is probably the best thing I’ve ever learned to do,” Mack said.
Mack will continue his shot put career next year at Baylor.