Junior High Boys Track: Ian Hassler proved he was the best

By Brandon LaChance, Editor
Posted 6/4/24

EAST PEORIA – Ian Hassler wanted to be part of the family legacy.

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Junior High Boys Track: Ian Hassler proved he was the best


EAST PEORIA – Ian Hassler wanted to be part of the family legacy.

He just didn’t know how perfect of a fit he was going to be.

Hassler, a seventh-grade student-athlete at Amboy Junior High School, won the IESA Class 2A Discus State Title and finished second in shot put on May 3-4 in East Peoria.

“It just makes me happy that all of the hard work from fifth grade to now has finally paid off. I was mad I didn’t make it to state last year. I was right there,” Hassler said. “Going to state and winning was a big moment for me. I met tons of people. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully I can make it again next year. I think can get better distance and get back there.

“The drive comes from knowing my entire family was in track, and they were pretty good at it. I wanted to be a part of that, and I want to be the best. It drove me to work toward it. I practiced as hard and as long as possible.

“I think the main reason I did track is because my sister Molly (Hassler) did it. She is good, but I told her I could do better. I used trying to throw better than her as motivation.”

The motivation paid off for the multi-sport athlete who also plays basketball and football.

His winning discus throw was 128-feet, 9-inches and his second place shot put heave was 37-8.

Amboy junior high track coach Reaine Wilson knew Hassler had the potential and was more than excited to see it come into fruition.

“When we went down there on Friday, we were told he was going to throw at a certain time. Then they got behind and we were told another time,” said Wilson, who is leaving Amboy after one year to take over as the Hiawatha High School head varsity volleyball coach. “He didn’t throw until 3:30 p.m. and we got there around 10 a.m. for the parade. He sat all day.

“For the fact his first discus throw was a good 143 feet, but he hit the out-of-bounds marker. His second throw was 121 feet, and he took the lead, but a couple other boys out threw him. His third throw, when he launched it, he released late, and it was a line drive that didn’t go nearly as far as he can throw.

“He had one throw left and I told him, ‘Quit playing with your food.’ He looked at me funny. Then I told him, ‘You know what you’re doing here, get out there and do it.’ He released the last one and it headed toward the foul line on the left side. All of a sudden, it curved and dropped in play. It was a good throw.”

Hassler had a similar progression during Saturday’s finals, but it proved to be enough to take home two state medals.

The coach knew Ian had it in him since his dad, Mark Hassler, holds records at Amboy High School in both the shot and discuss. The fundamentals were already there.

He just had to do some fine tuning but only had four regular season meets before sectional because of weather cancelations.

Although there weren’t many meets, 108 AJHS students started the season, 74 were still on the team at the end, 52 participated at sectional, 15 athletes placed 1-6 at sectional, and 42 set personal records.