How Kaden Garland wants to leave his mark as an Oak Park senior

CHICAGO, Ill. - Oak Park River Forest High School senior Kaden Garland is the number one shot put thrower in the state of Illinois.

"I'm aiming for a big PR," Garland said. "I believe I can take number one again."

After taking first place in indoor shot put, he's looking to do the same outdoors this weekend. And while he's chasing a sweep, he's also chasing another record – his dad's.

"I'm chasing his highest number," Kaden said. "64'9". I'm at 63'11." Hopefully at state, I can beat it."

Kadne's dad, Ty Garland, is the throwing coach at OPRF HS. He also happens to be the 1993 National Champion shot putter.

"As a dad, as a coach, my only thought is I want my son to crush it by 30 feet," Ty said. "It was 64'8". I like to round up to 65' but would love for him to crush it this week."

The Garlands are a family of shot putters. The oldest, Reese, throws at USC, where Kaden will join her next year. Their youngest, Jada, is a freshman at OPRF. Ty has coached them all.

"I can be tough on them. I am dad. At the same time, I'm honest with them," Ty said. "With the dad hat, I want them to do the best athletically and academically once they leave this wonderful high school."

Not only is Kaden Garland ranked number one in the state. He's also in the top 20 in the country.

Going down to Eastern Illinois this weekend means he has a target on his back. One thing he's learned from his dad is how to channel his energy.

"From what he told me, he was always really good with his rage against competition," Kaden said. "I'm very confident. In practice, I'm seeing my throws have a huge increase the past two to three weeks. I'm pretty confident I can get a good throw out."