The Keene State men’s track and field team has added a new stud thrower to their team this year.
Ben Keach, is a freshman this year, who almost didn’t end up at Keene State.
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“At first I planned on going to UNH, but I didn’t get in,” Keach said.
Another key reason for Keach’s commitment to Keene was throwing coach John Napolitano. “John was the best coach out of all of them when I went for my visits,” Keach said. “I also really loved this campus when I came for my visit.”
Napolitano said he recruited Keach out of Exeter High School. “Ben was very successful in high school, especially in big time meets,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano said he has already had some experience with students from Exeter High School.
“Ben went to the same high school as one of the best throwers to ever come to Keene,” Napolitano said. “I also know their coach well, he is probably the best high school coach in N.H.”
Keach throws shot put and hammer for the men’s team, and this past weekend he threw his best by two feet in the shot put, which put him in the top three in Division III New England’s this season.
Napolitano said when Keach started, that he was a typical high school thrower. He was naturally strong, but needed to get stronger, and he needed to get his lifting technique down.
As a freshman, Keach has already had an impressive rookie season, however is he wants to meet on of his goals of making it to the ECAC meet, he will have to improve his throw by another foot to qualify.
Napolitano said he has seen progression throughout the year with Keach, however he has to improve a little more to achieve his goals.
“The conference championships are in two weeks and after that, athletes have to qualify for events,” Napolitano said. “He has qualified for New England’s, which is good goal for a freshman to have, but he needs another foot on his throw to qualify for Regionals.”
Another career goal Keach has is to make it to Nationals for one of his events.
Keach said his teammates have been one of the biggest reasons for his successful first year.
“Every throw my teammates are there cheering me one,” Keach said. “And Phil [Elmer] has been the biggest help with my technique.”
Keach admits that adjusting to college life has been somewhat difficult.
“College life is definitely a lot different, but my hometown is only two hours away.”
Due to the fact that his home is only two hours away from Keene State, Keach said before track started, he used to go home every other weekend or so, but said that he is liking college life more now.
This semester Keach is enrolled in five courses and said it’s been very busy balancing five courses while doing track & field.
“It has been a little hectic taking five classes while being on the team,” Keach said, “but I’m out before noon every day and I feel like I’m doing pretty well.”
Last semester Keach started the semester by taking four classes, but withdrew from one. He said he did well in the other three, getting a 2.5 GPA for the semester. Keach hasn’t decided what major he wants to study yet, but has narrowed it down to two.
“I am deciding between engineering or a double major in math and physics,” Keach said. “If I were to major in engineering I would have to transfer to a different school, but I were to major in math and physics I could stay here.”
Keach’s next meet is on Feb. 11, which is the Little East Conference/Alliance Championships. It will be held at the University of Southern Maine.
Jacob Plourde can be contacted at email@example.com