Jeff Parker 2015
At 5 feet 8 and 160 pounds, Jeff Parker, a Bluffton junior, doesn’t measure up to most javelin throwers size-wise. However, at his first two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference outdoor championships, everyone else has been looking up at Parker, atop the podium with consecutive javelin titles.
As a freshman in 2012, he won by about 12 feet with a top throw of 185 feet 6 inches.
At last spring’s HCAC meet, he threw exactly five feet farther (190-6), besting the
runner-up by nearly 28 feet and extending his Bluffton record for the “modern” javelin—since
1986, when the javelin was redesigned.
“I like that it doesn’t take just power” to throw well, says the Bristol, Ind., native, also crediting his success to technique and speed. “I throw it, and they (competitors) just look at me in disgust,” he adds with a laugh.
Because the javelin isn’t contested in Indiana high school boys’ track and field, Parker didn’t take it up until he came to Bluffton. He had thought “it would be cool to throw a spear, and the first day I picked it up, I felt like I was born to do this.”
He had had a similar feeling, he recalls, when he picked up a shot for the first time as a seventh grader. “I just thought throwing things was fun,” says Parker, who participated in the shot put and the discus throughout high school. He also competed occasionally in the high jump and the long jump, an event he continues at Bluffton along with the javelin, hammer and weight throws.
He is also a defensive back for the Beaver football team. His high school head coach, Jon Kirkton, and the linebackers coach his junior and senior years, Joel Sienicki, both played at Bluffton—where they graduated in 1996 and 2009, respectively—and steered him toward the university, he says.
Majoring in business administration, he aspires to own his own company, citing cars and real estate as business interests. “I like selling and talking to people,” says Parker, who has spent two recent summers working in sales.
As for the javelin, his goals include adding another 10 feet—to reach the 200-foot mark—and qualifying for NCAA Division III regional competition. “I just want to be the best.”