The word “intimidation” is not in William Chrisman High School freshman Jacque David’s vocabulary.
Other words, like “opportunity” and “excited” are what the area’s premier girls shot put and discus athlete uses when talking about her first berth in the Class 5 Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships, which begins today at Jefferson City High School.
“I can’t wait to get to state,” said David, who won last week’s Class 5 Sectional 4 shot and discus titles, and holds the Chisman school records with throws of 40 feet, ½ inch and 132 feet, 1 inch, respectively. “It’s such a great opportunity. I couldn’t be any more excited than I am. I can’t wait to get to Jefferson City, with all the people watching, and show them what I can do.”
Her excitement level might be surpassed by her coach, Tyler Rathke, who in just three years has revamped a Bears track and field program that had been struggling.
“I knew what we were getting in Jacque because I followed what she was doing at Bingham Middle School,” said Rathke, who helped develop James Bailey (now playing football at Missouri Western State University is St. Joseph) into a two-time state discus champion.
“Jeff Floyd does such a great job working with the kids there, and he told me about Jacque and I really got excited. He said she could start at middle linebacker on the football team, was the best basketball player at the school and that he’s never seen anyone do what she was doing in the shot and discus, so yes, I knew what I was getting and I was so excited when she came to our school as a freshman.”
David has traveled throughout the Midwest as a member of an elite AAU basketball team, so she is accustomed to the spotlight.
But she might never face the same kind of glare as she does when she steps into the thrower’s circle at state.
“When we played basketball in front of big crowds, it was always me and my teammates,” she explained. “At state, it’s going to be me, in front of several thousand fans, and I’m excited about that. I’m really not intimidated, just excited.”
Her confidence comes from a mature approach that is wise beyond her years.
“I owe my maturity to my mom and dad and to Coach Rathke,” the 15-year-old said. “Coach Rathke has worked with me as a thrower and as a person. He has so much confidence in me, that I have more confidence in myself. I don’t think of myself as a freshman, just a member of the Chrisman track and field team.
“And I get my work ethic from my parents. My dad, Murphy, works a lot of overtime and doesn’t get to see me much because he works so hard to support our family, and I want to work that hard to make my family proud.”
And when she says family, she means her own family and her Bears family.
“So many of my teammates are going to state, too, and that makes it even better,” David said. “We’re a family and we want to go to state and show everyone what it means to be a Bear.”
One member of that family is senior Daniel Carson, who won the boys shot put at sectional and was fourth in the discus.
“Jacque is amazing,” said Carson, who leaves in three days to attend the University of Texas, where he will play Division I football. “And I mean amazing! She’s what, 14 or 15? She’s a freshman and she holds the school record in the shot put and discus and won sectional in each event. I didn’t even know what was going on when I was a freshman.
“And she’s so nice. She’s the nicest girl you would ever want to meet. We are all so proud of her. She is doing a great job representing Chrisman High School.”
So, how would a 15-year-old handle two gold medals at state?
“Well,” she said, laughing, “I don’t know. I never really thought about breaking two school records and that happened. I’m just going to state and going to work as hard as I have worked all season. I want to win two championships, so we’ll see what happens.
“But that would be pretty cool.”