Mason County grad Jay Stanley strives when he’s presented a challenge and gets to compete.
After a decorated high school track and field career in which he won back-to-back state shot put titles with the Royals, Stanley followed that up with All-Freshman honors in the Southern Conference at Western Carolina University. Wanting more, Stanley hit the weights and a steady diet to put on 30 pounds from his freshman to sophomore season to step up another level in competition for the Catamounts.
The hard work put in paid off as Stanley posted top-10 finishes during the indoor season, fifth in the shot put and eighth in weight throw as the Catamounts claimed first place in the Southern Conference Championships for the fifth straight year.
Jay Stanley (center with trophy) celebrates the Southern Conference Championship trophy with his Western Carolina track and field teammates.
He’d go on to outdoor season, placing sixth in the hammer and eighth in the discus to also claim first-place honors in the SoCon for the third straight year. Stanley also claimed his first collegiate win at East Tennessee State University in the shot put with a personal record throw of 14.80 meters.
“It was great to be able to compete this year in indoor. Last year I redshirted indoor and it was fun to be able to be a part of both championships,” Stanley said.
Stanley was redshirted with his coaches wanting him to get stronger…challenge accepted. Stanley pointed to two areas for his increased performances.
Jay Stanley and the Western Carolina Catamounts claimed their third straight outdoor Southern Conference Championship and fifth straight indoor track and field conference championship this past season.
“The key was adding weight and working on my technique. Freshman year I was 245 (pounds) and wasn’t able to compete in the events, so I got stronger and put on 30 pounds so I was able to compete indoor this season. It was a steady diet, different protein and workouts. I didn’t gain it in a month, gained it in six months throughout the season,” Stanley said.
Now the offseason grind is back in full swing as he approaches his junior year.
Western Carolina’s Jay Stanley competes in the shot put during a meet this past season. Stanley won a shot put event at East Tennessee State’s Tri-Star event in April, recording a personal record throw of 14.80 meters.
“I want to be on top of the podium these next coming years. It will be difficult, but a lot of heavy lifting, driving down drills and technique will get me there,” Stanley said.
Working with fellow Mason County alum and another former state champ in Andy Fryman will help.
“I try to keep in touch with him as much as I can and try to get individual work in with him when I can,” Stanley said.
Fryman is also training hard as he tries to become an Olympic athlete. He just missed out in qualifying on the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and has aspirations for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
That’s something Stanley hopes to be shooting for as well down the road. Along with his electrical engineering degree he’s working towards, Stanley wants to have a future in track and field, whether it be competing or coaching down the road.
“My GPA is going well as I’m rolling into my major classes. I’m excited to start getting into those and dealing with real life applications and real life issues pertaining to my major. After I graduate, I definitely plan on continuing to do track and field. I’d definitely like to coach and see where it takes me, see where life takes me,” Stanley said.
With the high expectations the Catamounts program expects of their athletes, Stanley knows he’s in good hands to keep him motivated and driven as he approaches his junior and senior year.
“Everyone on the team wants to compete. Our coaches make sure if you’re not there to compete and win, then you can leave. They want us to exceed in the classroom as well. They have a very low tolerance for bad grades and lack of effort,” Stanley said.
Stanley said he plans to continue his rigorous training schedule in the summer months of June and July before he heads back to school in August.