Hays High School senior Jake Gaughan continued something of a family tradition on Tuesday when he signed to continue his athletic and academic career at Fort Hays State University.
While Jake will throw for the Tiger track and field team, his older brother, Zack, just concluded his career as a member of the FHSU football team. Jake’s older sister Kylie also represented the Tigers, running distance events for the Tiger track and cross country programs.
Being the third Gaughan to transition from the maroon and gold to black and gold, it’s a process he’s excited to see play out.
“It’s exciting,” Gaughan said. “I’m really excited for my future career and can’t wait to see what it holds for me.”
The latest Gaughan to sign with the Tigers wasn’t sure he’d continue his athletic career beyond his days as an Indian until recently. He enjoyed track and field as a freshman and sophomore but saw his performance jump as a junior, making college track a possibility.
“My junior year I started getting a lot better and saw it as a good opportunity,” Gaughan said. “I thought I could do this.”
Other schools reached out, but the opportunity to stay around town played a big part in his final decision.
“I like to stay home and love to be around my family. They’re a great help,” Gaughan said. “I love the Fort Hays atmosphere.”
Discus is his best event at the moment, but he plans to give the hammer throw a try in the coming years. For now, however, the Hays High senior is focused on closing out his prep days with a trip to Wichita for the state meet.
“This year I really jumped up and I feel like I can do it,” Gaughan said. “So, I’m going to go for it.”
In preparation for his collegiate career, Gaughan will work build strength and better his technique and effort.
“It’s the same spin, the same technique and stuff. It’s just you practice more and the weights get a little heavier,” Gaughan said.
“It’s pretty much all the same, just a little more intense.”
Gaughan also will follow the family tradition outside of athletics. He plans to major in biology and take a pre-med course load before attending medical school, if all goes according to plan.
“My grandpa and my uncle are both dermatologists in Colorado, and I’ve always loved to be around them and watched procedures and stuff,” Gaughan said. “That’s fun stuff to watch, and I think it’s really interesting.”