By Jenelyn Russo     4/25/2015

Shot put and discus standout Luke Wattenberg got his start in these specialized field events at the suggestion of a member of his own family—his mom.

“I started in fifth grade throwing shot put and discus,” says Wattenberg. “My mom had done them before, so she told me to try it after I had stopped [playing] baseball.”

Mom usually knows best, and the JSerra Catholic High School junior has already seen a high level of success as the 2014 CIF Southern Section Champion in the discus, additionally qualifying for the California CIF State Track and Field Championships that same year, a longtime goal of Wattenberg’s that he considers a huge accomplishment as only a sophomore.

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The challenge of continually trying to hit new distances and increase his personal best is what drives the 17-year-old to keep throwing.

“It’s obviously fun to win, but it’s fun each week to improve and keep hitting your mark,” says Wattenberg.

These events have posed challenges for Wattenberg as he’s grown, specifically when it comes to adjusting to new weight classes and the increased size and weight of the implements.

“It’s very technical,” says Wattenberg of the shot put and discus events. “Focusing on technique and getting stronger helps. You have to put in a lot of work in order to get good results.”

Wattenberg is also a member of the Lions’ varsity football team, and the multi-sport athlete sees plenty of ways that participating in both sports keeps him competitive on the field.

“Football carries over to track because you use your hips a lot in football,” says Wattenberg, “and being strong helps a lot…quick feet help the discus to go far.”

JSerra’s track and field head coach Marty Dugard has high praise for his field event specialist, both on and off the track.

“Luke is a great young athlete, both in track and field and in football,” says Dugard. “He is also an individual of great character, and he’s eager to absorb the nuances of his events in order to constantly better himself.”

Not only a track and field CIF Champion, Wattenberg is a highly sought after offensive tackle, with many colleges looking to bring the talented athlete to their campus come 2016. The Trabuco Canyon resident hopes to be able to compete both in football and in his track and field events at the collegiate level while studying to be an engineer, the chosen career path of several of his family members.

And it is his family that Wattenberg looks to for inspiration, when it comes to both athletics and life.

“They are hardworking people,” says Wattenberg, “and I believe that hard work is what gets you places.”