Boys Track: Patrick leaping into nuclear engineering field

Hub senior grows into varsity jumping role at RTHS

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Riley Patrick was too young to compete with the Kings Elementary School track and field program in fourth grade, but that didn’t stop him from practice with the team on a daily basis.

Patrick immediately took up the sport when he was old enough to participate in fifth grade, and his love for the sport has grown ever since. Patrick ran three years of track and field at Rochelle Township High School, splitting reps between the varsity and fresh-soph teams in 2018 before becoming a varsity long jumper and triple jumper in 2019. Patrick finished his career with personal records of 35 feet 7 ¼ inches in the triple jump and 17 feet 3 inches in the long jump.

“I enjoyed doing the triple jump and making good friends throughout the years,” Patrick said. “My favorite memory with the team was the first time I triple jumped for Rochelle. I was so excited to be doing the triple jump again after taking one year off from track as a freshman. RTHS track and field taught me how to be more confident in myself with everything I do.”

As a sophomore, Patrick leapt 33 feet 9 inches to finish third in the fresh-soph triple jump at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Championships. The week prior, Patrick marked an outdoor personal record of 35 feet 1 ½ inches to take third in the Rochelle JV Invitational. Patrick’s junior season was highlighted by a sixth-place performance against Yorkville and Plano at 34 feet 7 inches.

Patrick, who also competed in the 200-meter dash and sprint relays such as the 400 and 800-meter relays, said he plans to pursue the U.S. Navy’s nuclear engineering program after high school in hopes of beginning a career at the Byron Nuclear Generating Station.

“Coming from a small school in Kings, I improved in nearly every aspect of track and field,” Patrick said. “The athletic program at Kings was much smaller, but with the conditioning classes, the hard practices and the coaching at RTHS, I became a much better athlete overall.”