Former Longhorn Tapped Big Sky's Best

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Former Payson High School three-sport star Jeremy Hoff, now a member of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjack track and field team, has been named the Big Sky Conference's Athlete of the Week.

Hoff, who graduated from PHS in 1999, was the first Lumberjack to win the honor this season.

The former Longhorn received the Big Sky honor for his performance at the Arizona State University Invitational March 29 at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe.

His gold-medal shot-put effort of 57 feet, 2 inches bested those of athletes from Ohio State, Kansas State and Arizona State. His throw, which is more than four feet better than the nearest Big Sky shot-put competitor, also nailed down an NCAA Western Regional qualifying berth for Hoff.

In the discus, Hoff is ranked fourth in the big Sky Conference with a toss of 157 feet, 3 inches. His hammer throw of 168 feet, 2 inches is sixth best in the Big Sky.

In track and field circles, Hoff is considered a late bloomer having begun the sport during his senior year at Payson High School.

After starring in football and basketball at PHS, Hoff went out for track and field thinking he'd probably try out for the running events.

"I guess I got a little bit tired of running so I went out for the field events," he said. "I ended up really liking it."

As a shot-putter, Hoff was more than a tad undersized at 180 pounds. Only months earlier, he had been a lightening quick defensive back on the Longhorns state championship football team.

The lack of sheer bulk didn't slow Hoff's pursuit of becoming a top-notch shot-putter. His quickness and technique helped him become one of the best prep shot-putters in the state.

As a freshman at NAU, he continued to be a lightweight before going on an extensive weight program that has him now buffed up to shot-put standards.

"I've put on 55 to 60 pounds since I was in high school," Hoff said.

With the Big Sky honor behind him, Hoff's goal is to reach the NCAA national outdoor championships later this year.

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