Hortonville’s Ben Smith top shot putter in nation

WATCH: Hortonville’s Ben Smith owns top shot put in nation
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 8:47 PM CDT
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HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - After coming off state titles in both discus and shot put, Hortonville junior Ben Smith has to keep setting higher goals himself.

“I wanted it. I want to come back and do better than last year, so just stayed with the course,” Smith said.

Up and up. Smith won the 2023 indoor state title in shot put with a personal best 67 feet 8.25 inches.

Then in the first outdoor meet of this season, he threw 67 feet, 7.25 inches, way better than his state winning 59-4 throw last year. In fact, this one was good enough for the best - not only in the state but in the nation, by a whole foot.

“67 was just a shock,” Ben’s throwing coach and father, Bob Smith, said. “And then to do it two times in three days was pretty amazing. To do the indoor and then follow it up with the outdoor again in the first meet, it’s been exciting and surprising.”

“Right now having the number one throw in the country kind of puts a target on my back. I’m just trying to do better every meet, every chance I get,” Ben said.

“You just don’t see this at this age,” Hortonville track and field coach Kevin Sours said. “You see the development - freshman, sophomore and now what he’s come out and done so far, it’s fun to watch. He’s very technical. He’s an artist when it comes to it.”

“70 would be a goal, whether it’s this year or next year,” Ben said. “210 plus for discus would be a goal of mine. But right now I’m just trying to PR every meet.”

Smith is a three-sport athlete, also competing in football and wrestling, but throwing is in his family. Ben’s dad, Bob, who is also his coach, was a thrower in college at UW-Madison.

“I’m just looking up to him. I want to do better than him, which so far I’ve beat all his record.”

“I’ve been blown out of the water,” Bob said. “He’s very devoted to it, he’s worked on his technique. Who knows what he can do when we get to a big meet with some adrenaline. Stay focused and understand in some ways it’s a marathon not a sprint.”