Fort Hays State has become a popular destination in the past few years for McPherson High student-athletes.
The school gained its newest Bullpup member on Wednesday when track and field standout Noah Jirgens joined the Tigers.
Jirgens is one of the better discus throwers in Class 4A, with a best of 156-7. While he’s still some 15 feet off the school record of Rob Bergstrom, which has withstood the test of time as it’s been more than 25 years, he has set that as a goal. “Lately I’ve been throwing in the 160s in practice,” he said.
Jirgens is comfortable with his choice.
“I liked their coach a lot and it’s a really good school,” Jirgens said. “I’ve had three coaches who went there. They have produced some really good throwers.”
Jirgens says he’s happy to join the Bullpup migration West.
“The class above me all pretty much went there,” he said. “They have a pretty quality education system. It’s close, but not too close. They have a really nice campus.”
Jirgens missed making state by one place last year, but so far this season appears to be on pace to compete next month in Wichita. In addition to the discus, he said he may compete in the hammer and maybe the shot put at Fort Hays.
The pre-law major had a potential outstanding football season curtailed by injuries this past fall. After rushing for more than 200 yards in the season-opening upset of Salina South, he was on a 1,500-yard pace after three games. But a nagging ankle injury limited his time the rest of the way, though he still finished with more than 700 yards to earn second-team AVCTL honors.
Jirgens, who will major in pre-law, said he’ll be working on his strength training before heading out to Hays in the fall. He said he’ll also be working on his technique as his best days may still be ahead of him.
MHS track and field coach Jace Pavlovich, a Fort Hays State grad himself who has seen several of his athletes head West, believes Jirgens can be as good as he wants to be.
“He can really do some good things if he focuses on the discus. He’ll get some great coaching out there, I know that first hand,” Pavlovich said. “They do a really good job out there and their throwing coaches are great. They’ve got really good facilities and Noah will be a good fit for them. In practice he’s hitting in the 160s, but in meets he tends to speed himself up a little bit. Once he relaxes, we expect him to be in the 160s.”