Cooper Legas’ grandfather wanted to see how Cooper would do without any coaching at first. Dick Legas competed in javelin at the international level and both coached and competed at BYU, so he was ready to mold his grandson into a prolific javelin thrower.

But he first wanted to see what he was working with. So Cooper, a multi-sport athlete at Orem High, picked up the javelin in the middle of the meet, and launched it 139 feet without a full run up.

Later that season, Cooper Legas won the Class 4A state title in javelin with the best finish across all classifications. He went on to win state in football and wrestling, snagging a championship in every sports season — spring, fall and winter. While his main focus is football, he’s challenging the importance of specialization.

“If I had time, I would do freaking every sport if I could,” Legas said. “... I just like to compete, and so I do as much as I can.”

Legas suspects that he would get bored if he only played one sport. As if three sports wasn’t enough already with javelin in the spring, Legas added long jump to his repertoire this season. His reasoning? He wanted something to do at track meets while he wasn’t throwing the javelin.

Legas had dreamed of winning a state championship for years. He just didn’t think his first one would come in javelin.

He had a good arm to start with, one built up from years of baseball, which he quit early on to make for time for football, and playing quarterback.

“Once your arm is actually bent,” Legas said, “pretty much anything you’re throwing is the same finish.”

The arm motion to throw a javelin is similar to an outfielder’s throw, starting with the throwing arm reaching backwards. With a football, on the other hand, the quarterback throws from his ear. The run up in javelin is unique. But Legas’ athleticism and coordination made up for his lack of experience.

“He’s just a freak-of-nature athlete,” Orem track and field coach Andy Jacobs said. ”Just really, really a great athlete.”

Legas’ first throw was impressive for a beginner, but he improved rapidly. He didn’t dip below 170 feet last season from April 13 through season’s end. He won the state title with a throw of 187 feet,, 7.25 inches.

“The kid is super smart,” Cooper’s father, Adam Legas, said, “but the thing is, more than smart, he’s just so committed to doing the best he can do in everything. He knows that he doesn’t need straight As because he knows he’s going to be able to get a scholarship either way. But he just wants to do the best he can do at whatever it is.”

The same goes for track and wrestling. Football is Cooper’s future. He hopes to continue to play in college, and according to Adam Legas, he already has received an offer from BYU and interest from several Pac-12 and Big 12 schools. But he still cuts weight in the winter for wrestling and balances track with spring football workouts.

Cooper is on track to defend his javelin title at the state meet fresh off claiming the 195-pound state wrestling title at the Class 4A meet. According to Jacobs, his biggest competition likely will be Salem Hills senior Isaac Tribett. The two are chasing the 4A state record of 202-5.

“It’s really motivated Cooper,” Jacobs said about the competition. “If he’s going to win state this year, I think he’s going to win it and get a state record. But he’s going to have to do it and beat [Tribett].”


School • Orem

Height • 6 foot 2

Weight • 210 pounds for football, 195 weight class for wresting

Football • The quarterback led his team to its first state championship since 1994. Legas finished the season as No. 2 in passing yards state-wide (4,115), behind now-Washington State quarterback Cammon Cooper.

Wrestling • Legas beat Desert Hills’ Byron Anderson 7-5 in the state championship to claim the Class 4A title at 195 pounds.

Track • Legas rose the ranks quickly to win state in javelin last season. He hopes to have a similar learning curve in long jump this season, setting his sights on placing in state in that event as well.