The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

Athlete in Focus: Kaden Garland

Destined for the University of Southern California, Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Kaden Garland reigns as the number one shot put athlete in Illinois.

Garland holds many impressive personal records earned throughout his high school career, such as his 61-foot shot put throw, 169-foot, 1.75-inch discus throw and 60-foot and three-inch weight throw. 

Garland is a versatile athlete, as he is both a track and field athlete and a varsity football player. While he was offered to participate in both at USC, he ultimately decided to only continue his track and field career. He said, “At first I didn’t like it…but as time went on and I got more and more practice, the more I started to like the sport.”

Kaden Garland preparing to throw a shotput.

Garland began throwing in middle school under the guidance of his father, Tyrone Garland, who is the community outreach coordinator at OPRF. Tyrone Garland, who also coaches his son, threw in high school and played football for Michigan State University. 

Kaden Garland first began to take throwing seriously during his freshman year. Track and field Head Coach Timothy Hasso noted his success throughout the program, saying, “He’s a major part of the team. As far as Kaden goes, the team goes. And as far as the team goes, Kaden goes.”

Tyrone Garland added, “Kaden loves it and really feeds off his teammates.”

Kaden Garland said his favorite part of the sport is the competition and the comradery of his team. “As a freshman there were upperclassmen I looked up to, and now as a senior, I feel like I have that role,” he said. “I try my best to be a great leader and role model for the whole team to look up to.”

He emphasized his hope to further himself through all aspects of college, saying, “I am most excited to start my academic and athletic career throughout a school that is good at both.” He explained that his ultimate goal in his athletic journey is to contend in the Olympics, and he hopes experience and work at USC will help provide a significant step towards that goal. At USC, he also plans to major in finance and business administration.

The Garlands said they considered many factors when choosing which university Kaden should attend. Both said that the education, facilities and coaching combined all seemed to add up best at USC. Reese Garland, a 2023 graduate of OPRF and Kaden’s sister, is attending the school as a freshman.

Tyrone Garland said that while it is nice for Kaden Garland to have his sister there, he also wants his son to feel that he is “on his own path.”

Tyrone Garland underlined the importance of balancing parenting with coaching and said that his son “has a lot of potential, and I just want him to just go after that potential.” He hopes to see him continue striving for success. “I think he’s got the potential to be the best in the United States,” he said.

Both Tyrone Garland and Hasso highlighted Kaden Garland’s ability to work efficiently as an athlete. “He’s a good learner and a good listener,” said Garland. 

Hasso added, “He’s a super dedicated worker,” noting, “He’s a pretty special kid, and when he puts his mind to something, he is a very determined young man.”

While Kaden Garland has seen much success so far in his track and field career, his father said, “The sky’s the limit for him, and he’s got to chase it and want it.”

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