Doane underestimate Jared Schuurmans.
"I plan on winning every meet," Jared said, "but this is obviously a little tougher than winning a local one."
Doane College discus thrower Jared Schuurmans will represent the smallest school in the biggest track meet of the year: the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
"I'm going to try and treat this meet just like any other one," said Schuurmans, "but I think when the time comes I'll get a little jittery. But the ring's the same size, there's a few more people, but I still throw the same disc, it still weighs the same. That's how I treat every one, whether it's nationals or US Championships."
Schuurmans is one of six collegiate athletes participating in the discus, and the only one not from a Division I school.
"Everyone's like, 'Where the heck's Doane from? A small Division I school?', and I'm like, 'No, we're in the NAIA'," Jared said. "They're like, 'What the heck's the NAIA?', and I'm like, 'Well, we're kind of like Division III, but we're even smaller'. I think sometimes people think being from a smaller school, or being in the NAIA you're not going to be successful, and that's not true."
While competing in the USA Track & Field Championships seems larger than life, Jared says he's been able to keep a level head, thanks in large part to his father Gary, who was Jared's high school coach back in Norfolk.
"He's kind of my conscience I think when it comes to track," Jared said. "He keeps telling me, even today, we talked about going to the championships, and he just talks about how great this experience is, but he keeps telling me, 'don't lose sight of the process'."
"Everyone has the dream of being a champion, and that's still my dream," said Schuurmans. "I'd love to be an Olympic champion and be an Olympic competitor, and I think the biggest thing for me is to be around them, just see the things they do, maybe even pick up some pointers."
And at the very least, respect.