Blake Freeland played three sports while at Herriman High: football, basketball, and track and field. As a 6-foot-8, 275 lineman for the Mustangs, Freeland made his name to the tune of a scholarship offer to play football at Brigham Young University this fall.
But he was no slouch as a track and field athlete, either. He dominated the throwing events, most recently winning the 6A state championship in the shot put, discus and javelin. On Monday, the Herriman High graduate received recognition for his work in that sport.
Freeland was named the Gatorade Utah Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. He is the first boys track athlete from Herriman High to win the award.
Freeland is also one of only eight in the country to win for a throwing event.
“I was kind of surprised because the runners, they get all the recognition,” Freeland told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I didn’t really expect it. But I think it’s really cool that a field person got it.”
Freeland’s track and field coach, James Barnes, wrote in an email to The Tribune that now-BYU football player’s work ethic is what makes him a great overall athlete, adding that he will be “a great addition to BYU’s program.”
“I was happy for Blake when he was a contender for this award and glad he received the honor in the end,” Barnes said. “I think he deserved it because of his great accomplishments and was glad to see him get some recognition. To win all [three] throwing events is underrepresented, and to do it in 6A with the marks he did is awesome.”
In addition to the state titles in the three throwing events last year, Freeland was also on the 2015 football team that won the 5A championship. It was Freeland’s freshman year.
Last year, Freeland won the Utah High School Activities Association’s Spirit of Sport award for helping to found a nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged students find opportunities in sports. Freeland said his father helps run it.
Freeland started throwing on the track and field team because his younger sister and father both competed in those events. His father, he said, encouraged him to try throwing.