Andale’s Kraus, Meyer, strong in throws, ready for higher purpose

Jack Kraus wins 4A shot put.
Jack Kraus wins 4A shot put.(KWCH)
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 3:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Winning the Class 4A shot put Saturday at Cessna Stadium is probably far from the most important thing Andale senior Jack Kraus will do in his life.

It was pretty cool, though. And three years in the making.

Kraus, part of a group of Andale throwers unmatched in the state, said goodbye to high school with a winning throw of 56 feet, 3 1/2 inches. Kraus made his sixth and final throw his best of the day.

Next up for Kraus is attending West Point and becoming an Army Cadet, a dream that has lasted longer -- and means more -- than anything Kraus can achieve athletically.

“To get in (to West Point) was tough, I wasn’t sure if I’d get in,” Kraus said after his Saturday win. “It’s a cool honor to be able to get to that academy and show what midwestern communities and Andale can do.”

Kraus was staring at a third straight second-place finish and a less satisfying end to his career, but the event proved to be almost no contest. Bishop Miege’s Daegen Jensen was second at 52-10, which Kraus beat on four of six throws.

“It feels so good to finally come through,” Kraus said. “Battled through some injuries this year and it finally started coming together at the state meet. Not where I wanted to be, but it was enough. It just feels awesome.”

Kraus isn’t the only Andale senior preparing to serve his country beginning next year.

Jonah Meyer, who finished second to teammate Riley Marx in Friday’s javelin final -- Marx’s brother Cooper finished fourth -- is enrolling in the Air Force Academy this fall.

“It’ll be something. It’ll be a lot,” Meyer said. “I’m really excited for it, though. I don’t know, it’ll be a journey.

“The acceptance rate of academies is so low. ...It happened that both of us got in, and it’s awesome. It was just great that we both got the letter that we were in. I wanted to serve my country, that’s real big for me. I feel like it’s kind of my duty.”

Meyer said he’s into airplanes and has started pursuing aerospace engineering. He wants to continue throwing the javelin at the next level.

Whatever his journey is like after high school, he’ll carry lifelong memories to the Air Force.

“Our team is -- we have a really good bond. Especially us throwers. We have a throwers meal every night before our meet. It’s kind of like a big family, and we cheer on each other. If you saw the javelin, everyone was out there.”

Kraus’s supporters were charged up for his final event. His mom and his coach were taking shots of barbecue sauce in the stands in their effort to “bring the sauce.”

His career at Andale is done now, but he and Meyer are eager to don new uniforms.

“For two people to go to the academies from such a small school,” Kraus said. “it makes you proud to be from Andale.”