New Castle News

Sports

July 4, 2013

Male Athlete of the Year: Jon Yohman of Wilmington

NEW CASTLE — There was a time when one nail in the wall was good for Jon Yohman.

He used it to hang a gold medal in his bedroom.

However, that single nail became obsolete in a hurry. As Yohman capped his high school career at Wilmington, that wall became pretty covered.

“It’s a really cool thing,” he said. “I have a good collection of medals.”

Yohman earned all that hardware with the Greyhounds’ football team and track and field squads. He was a four-year starter on the gridiron and graduated as Wilmington’s most-decorated male thrower in the discus and shot put.

He’ll get a chance to continue his academic and athletic careers in the fall at Penn State University. He earned a track and field scholarship and will compete for the Nittany Lions in the throwing events.

“I am a small-town kid. Last year, I never would have guessed I would be going to a (NCAA) D-I school,” he said. “It’s a great reward for putting in all those hours.”

TRACK AND FIELD STAR

Yohman wrapped up his illustrious track and field career with another gold at the PIAA championships at Shippensburg University. He claimed the Class AA shot put championship and finished second in the discus.

Last year, that was reversed as he won PIAA gold in the discus and came in second in the shot put.

“Getting a gold this year in the shot was a great way to cap off my high school career,” he said. “I have a state gold in the shot and a gold in discus. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Yohman enjoys throwing both the shot put and discus.

“The shot and discus almost go hand in hand. I have always been equal in both, but I sort of strive more in the shot only because of my body structure. The discus is more of a lean thing, but I am really bulky, so that’s why I excelled more in the shot put consistently,” he said. “I can’t possibly say which one is my favorite. They both take a lot of dedication. You have to put in the hours; you won’t be handed anything. I just love to compete. That’s really what I look forward to – just the competition. That’s why I like them both.”

Yohman has excelled in competition. He captured District 10 championships in both the shot and discus the past two years. As a sophomore, he was second in both the D-10 meets and fourth at the PIAA championship.

He owns school records in the shot put (62-1) and discus (189-6). He set both marks in the spring.

“He has had a tremendous four years at Wilmington, really a tremendous six years. He owns almost all the shot put and discus records starting around fifth grade and up in the junior high program and set some pretty high standards back then. We knew he’d be really good at the varsity level,” Wilmington track and field coach J. R. McFarland said. “As strong as he was his freshman year, he continued to increase his strength. Technique-wise, he’d mature every year as he learned more about the throws. He is a unique athlete who has the ability to make quick adjustments to his body. It’s easier for him than most athletes.  He put in a lot of hard work to sharpen his skills in the throws.

“I believe he hasn’t reached his peak by any stretch. I think he has a great career to look forward to at Penn State. He really set a high standard for many athletes to come after him, not only in track and field but football as well.”

Yohman credits his brother, Paul — a former PIAA shot put champion — and the work of McFarland and throwing coach Brandon Phillian in refining his technique.

“They put in the hours, especially Coach Phillian. Our (team) practices were over at 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. and we’d be out until 8, 9 or 10 p.m. He doesn’t limit himself to his knowledge. If he doesn’t know about what I should work on, he’d talk to other coaches to see if they saw something,” Yohman said. “There was never a time in my career where we didn’t know what to work on. My technique always needed something. If not for him, I would not have become as good at throwing as I was.”

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