LEROY -- LeRoy High School senior Austin Trease will be competing in this week's Class 1A state track and field meet that gets underway Thursday in Charleston, surprising even himself with a runner-up finish in the high jump in last Friday's sectional meet at Central Catholic.
Trease qualified for the state meet with a leap of 6 feet, 5 inches, nearly a foot higher than this time last year.
The Pantagraph met with Trease shortly after his qualifying jump to learn the secret to his improvement. We also learned of his career plans, an interesting way in which he's been getting money to pay his car insurance, and a rather unique third sport that he participates in, along with track and football.
Question: How did you decide to get involved in cheerleading?
Trease: "A couple of girls last year dared me to do it. They were cheerleaders and they didn't think I'd do it, but I did. I was pretty good at it, too. I could throw them all up and over my head and stuff. It was really interesting. I have a lot more respect for women after I did that. They work their butts off."
Some people think that cheerleading shouldn't be recognized as an IHSA sport. Do you think that it should?
"Oh, absolutely. It should be as big as football and track and basketball. The cheerleaders are working 24/7. Some of the girls do as much work as the football players."
What was the response of other guys to your being a cheerleader?
"They thought it was kind of funny. I really didn't get any criticism for it. I didn't catch much harassment from it."
You were a pretty good linebacker. Which do you like better, football or track?
"I like football a lot better because you can run into people and blow off some steam. Here (in track) you can punch the mat, but that's about it."
How exciting is this to be going to state this week to close out your senior year?
"I never, ever though I'd come anywhere near this far. Last year I jumped 5-6 and that was my best, and then at (last year's) sectionals something happened and I got spring in my legs and jumped 5-11. This year at the first meet I jumped 6-2 and then couldn't get anywhere near that. I had some shin problems and a calf issue. But today, I don't know, I just woke up this morning and ate a good meal and prayed a lot."
What did you have for breakfast?
"I start off with three or four bottles of water and a lot of protein. Peanut butter on toast. And then I had tuna in a can. I usually eat that everyday for lunch, high protein foods to start your day off right."
You're a foot better than last year. Is all of that attributed to peanut butter and tuna?
"A lot of it is Coach (Marc) Delaere. He's the main reason I'm jumping like this. He spent a lot of time with me."
What courses do you like in school?
"I liked woodshop. I built a lot of stuff for a lot of teachers locally, furniture and stuff. I've made $200 to $300 apiece on tables that I've made for them. It's how I pay my (car) insurance, the stuff that I make in the shop."
Do you want to do that for a career?
"No, I want to be a police officer. My dad (Delbert) is a real good friend with a lot of Bloomington-Normal cops. The thing about being a cop is you have a brotherhood. That's what football is and that's what track is."
What do you like to do for fun?
"Hunt. If I'm not in class or out on the track, it's all hunting. I hunt deer, I hunt pheasant and shoot trap. I have a massive collection of guns."
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