West Jordan High graduate Austin Klingler lost the opportunity to make a name for himself to college recruiters last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while he didn’t know for sure if he’d get another chance for his senior year, he had a plan just in case.
“I knew if I did, I was going to make the best of it,” Klingler said.
And make the best of it he did.
Klingler broke the 6A state record in the 400-meter dash at the state championship meet in May with a time of 47.49 seconds. He also set a state record in the indoor version of that event at 47.84 seconds and did it with a face mask on, West Jordan coach Taylor Hatch said.
Klingler’s senior year culminated with winning the Gatorade award for the top boys’ track and field athlete in Utah.
“I was just honored because of all the great athletes this year in track for Utah,” Klingler said. “It was just a stacked year. A lot of people deserved this award. I was just happy and honored to get it.”
Klingler also holds the fifth-fastest time in state history in the 800 with a time of 1 minute, 50.61 seconds. In February, he won the Adidas National Indoor Championships in that event.
Klingler said he is verbally committed to run at BYU.
Klinger is the second boys’ track and field athlete from West Jordan to win the Gatorade award in Utah. The first was Jacob Garlick, who won it in the 1999-2000 school year.
Garlick visited West Jordan and spoke to the team this past season, which Klingler said was impactful for him.
“To hear him talk, it really helped me motivate me to do [well] this year,” Klingler said.
Klingler credited the award to his coaches and how much they care about all of the athletes at West Jordan.
“Austin has taught the West Jordan team and coaching staff to dream big, set goals, and not be afraid of being great,” Hatch said. “Each time he stepped on the track, he wasn’t just there to run. He was there to compete and see how good he could be. That is what makes Austin different from a lot of people.”