Jeremiah Nubbe first learned he had been named the 2020-21 Gatorade Washington Boys Track and Field Player of the Year from his mom, who received an email from the organization announcing his selection. He went to check his email just to make sure and, yep, there it was.
“I was pretty excited,” Nubbe said. “I was really satisfied to kind of cap off my season and go on my way with that. It was definitely awesome.”
Though winning it was a surprise, Nubbe was well aware he was in the running for the award, which recognizes the top athlete from each state in each of the 12 high school sports for their athletic excellence, academic achievements and exemplary character.
He is the first Rainier High School athlete to win the award and is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Player of the Year, which will be announced sometime this month.
Last year’s (2019-20) boys track and field player of the year was Ridgefield’s Trey Knight, who is also a prolific thrower and won it as a junior in 2018-19 and a sophomore in 2017-18.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Nubbe has climbed the U.S. ranks, posting top-5 national marks in the discus and hammer throw events in 2021.
The Class 2B state champion in the discus as a freshman, Nubbe launched a then-personal-best discus throw of 196 feet even on April 19, 2021, breaking the Washington state junior record. The throw was ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time.
Most recently, he placed second in the discus with a new personal-best throw of 200 feet, 2 inches at The Outdoor Nationals, Presented by Nike on June 30 at the University of Oregon. That throw puts him fifth in the nation. He also placed fourth in the hammer throw with a PR of 224 feet, 8 inches, which is ranked No. 4 nationally.
“That national meet is always the biggest one,” Nubbe said. “Early in recruiting, it’s definitely the most important for all the guys and girls competing.”
For the academic portion of his award, Nubbe is an experienced welder who has helped install signs at several community parks around Rainier, and has volunteered locally with the Rainier Education Foundation Scholarship program.
“Jeremiah exhibits a tremendous amount of self-discipline and dedication in his training regimen,” Rainier throwing coach Josh Frunz said in a press release. “He practices his throws four to five days a week, completes an intense strength-training regimen and adheres to a strict diet.”
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Nubbe has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization he chose is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year.
Nubbe has also maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA which, combined with his athletic accomplishments, has led to a slew of Division-I scholarship offers from programs around the country. Many have been reaching out to request official or unofficial campus visits. It’s kept the kid from Rainier busy.
“Trying to find time for that and make that decision a little more clear,” Nubbe said. “I’ve narrowed it down to two or three schools right now. When fall comes, I’ll probably get into those discussion, ‘What can I expect from you and what PRs can I get in high school to make my scholarship increase?’”
But for now, he’s solely focused on USA Track and Field Nationals, held July 26 to August 1, in Jacksonville, Florida, where he’ll face off again with some of the top prep competition in the country. It will be his final meet before his senior year at Rainier begins.
“I’ll be starting up with a new cycle and working my way up from there,” Nubbe said.