Jeremiah Nubbe’s been hard at work behind the curtains of the coronavirus pandemic.
After a premature end to the 2020 spring season, the Rainier student-athlete got to work throwing and weightlifting hours every day while also sinking his teeth into old Olympic footage and technique.
He stuck to a simple and strict daily routine, made sacrifices and committed his time to the intricacies of throwing discus, shot put and hammer.
Where does that land him? Pretty far.
On Monday, April 19, his 196-foot discus throw at a track and field meet in Tenino was the best ever in Washington state by a junior. It was also a personal best by 2 feet.
Exceeding the goal line seems to be the name of the game for the Rainier athlete. In all four meets so far, Nubbe has recorded PRs in both the discus and shot put. Since his freshman year, he’s made a 40-foot improvement on his discus throw and over 10 feet on shot put.
The 220-pound, 6-foot-3 Rainier junior is currently ranked second in the nation in discus this season, according to rankings on Athletic.net.
And, with two meets left this season, he’s still going.
With his dedication and focus, coaches believe he could go even further by the end of the season, perhaps topping out at the 200-foot mark with a strong foundation for his senior season next year.
“He is dedicated. He puts the time in. A lot of kids aren’t willing to put the time and dedication in to become the best thrower in the country, let alone the state. … He’s shown he’s willing to make the sacrifices,” said Rainier boys track and field coach Josh Frunz. “It’s hard to get a PR each week, but like I’ve said, some of the stuff he’s done in practice we haven’t seen in the meets.”
Earlier this season, Nubbe bested Frunz’s Rainier High School shot put record that he set back in 1997. He’s since added 2 feet to it during this COVID-19 shortened season, and also holds the school’s discus record.
Frunz said it’s nice to see a small town boy from Rainier garner recognition for his hard work, especially on the national stage. He said he’s a well-rounded young man who’s always willing to help other athletes on their technique and has remained humble both on and off the field.
“It definitely is cool to see him up there,” Frunz said. “I think he’s a kid that when you tell him something, he takes it to heart. He has such a high self-discipline.”
Chris Stoval, current Yelm High School track and field coach and Nubbe’s club coach, said he wasn’t surprised when he bested the junior state discus record.
“I knew he was going to do it, I knew he was going to get it. The dude is a machine, a technician. He’s probably one of the best throwers I’ve seen on that level,” Stoval said.
And that largely has to do with Nubbe’s copious attention to detail.
“He’s his own coach. He knows everything that went wrong when it doesn’t go as far as he wants it to go,” Stoval said. “He’s excellent at seeing everything and feeling it. There are some kids who can throw far because they can muscle it, but when it comes to the real tiny things to change, it’s hard to finesse it. That’s not it with Jeremiah. … If he wants to ever coach, he’ll be a fantastic coach.”
Only a tiny percentage of athletes ever get to compete at the Olympics, and to Nubbe that’s been a dream ever since he picked up throwing in seventh grade. Stoval said Nubbe’s received guidance from biometrics coach and former Olympic thrower Lex Strom, who is local.
“He’s come down to some of his meets, talked with Jeremiah about his throws and how to approach it. … I think he’s helped Jeremiah quite a bit,” Stoval said.
Speaking with the Nisqually Valley News, Nubbe said it’s been great to be back in the saddle this season. He’s been feeling comfortable back in the ring and is looking forward to competing at the USA Track and Field summer national competition this year.
“The first meet really got me back in the groove of it and shaking off the jitters,” he said.
Nubbe’s daily routine in the COVID-19 era largely revolves around three things: throwing, eating and studying.
He wakes up around 5:30 a.m. most mornings and hits the gym to lift weights. On non-lifting days, he’ll usually sleep in until 7 a.m.
After lifting for about an hour and a half, he’ll make himself a 1,000-calorie breakfast that consists usually of pork or beef, collard greens, broccoli, toast and some potatoes, grits or rice.
“I’ve had a lot of dietary issues in my youth, too. For about a year, I couldn’t eat wheat. I’m used to being strict with a diet. … If you can make it taste good, it’s not a problem,” Nubbe said.
He’s usually in the classroom from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Rainier School District on Tuesday, April 20 brought back all their students to a four-day, in-person schedule, so student-athletes are now likely getting more time in the classroom.
For lunch, he might have something pretty quick: A protein bar and either a ham sandwich, chicken-rice wrap, or leftovers from breakfast. He’ll add avocados to boost his calorie count.
After school, Nubbe hits the pit and begins throwing discus, shot put and hammer. Before throwing, he’ll conduct torso stretches to make sure he can get a solid whip and he might review some footage.
He usually gets home in the early evening. The junior with a 4.0 GPA hits the books making sure to triple check his homework before he sits down for dinner with his mom, dad and sometimes his brother, who goes to the University of Washington.
On a perfect night, dinner consists of steak, asparagus and some mashed potatoes. It’s lights out by 9 p.m. so that he can get a full eight hours of sleep, but not before he downs a protein shake. On an average day, he’ll eat upwards of 4,800 calories.
“I try to be really on the dot about getting sleep,” Nubbe said. “It’s pretty crucial with all the amount of work I put in.”
Since middle school, life seems to revolve around throwing. Nubbe said what keeps him motivated and growing is a drive to see his throws go the extra distance and to be the best.
“I think, in general, I found something that I could connect with more than other sports and something I could enjoy. … Before throwing, I think I was just going with the flow and just finding something I could work forward toward,” he said. “I find myself here today because of the goals I set back in those days as a middle schooler.”
Earlier this season, Nubbe held the longest throw in the country for a few days. His coaches were ecstatic, though not surprised, about the accomplishment. After he heard that his throw was the furthest in the country, Nubbe said he felt relieved.
“It’s good to take the psychological plus out of it because after taking a year working at my goal, it fills my confidence to keep going. … Without competition, it’s hard to go through the grind without having competition,” he said, referring to last year’s “virtual meets.”
Nubbe has voiced interest in attending top Division I schools, such as Stanford, but earlier this month he said he was keeping his options open. He’s working on narrowing down a list of where he wants to go after high school. Coaches say they don’t have a doubt that he’ll land somewhere with a solid, nationally-renowned throwing program.
“I’m slowly bringing those down, trickling those down to where I want to go,” he said, adding that he still has the “D1 bug” in him.
Spring season sports will come to a conclusion over the next week. Kalama will host the Central 2B League this Friday, April 23. The Mountaineers will host the District 4 2B championships on Thursday, April 29.