PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Jack Hammerton admits this is the year he stood back and really took note of golf.
The Richwoods junior wasn’t sure he’d have a high school golf season.
“I learned to appreciate it because we didn’t know if we were going to play,” Hammerton said of the season threatened by COVID concerns. “I appreciate it a lot more. I thought about how much golf meant to me.”
Not only did he get a golf season but he had a big one. He won the Peoria high school city championship and advanced to the season-ending sectional where finished tied for 18th.
But now he wants more. He’s hoping to play four sports this school year.
Next week rejoins the Richwoods swim team where he is a diver, and in the spring he’ll play baseball. In between, he’s planning on playing high school football for the first time.
This season high school football in Illinois will start in March.
“The football coach (Roland Brown) asked me,” Hammerton said of his football debut. “And I said ‘Sure, that sounds like fun.'”
Being a four-sport athlete is unique. Being a four-sport athlete on the honor roll may be more rare. Hammerton has a weighted grade point average of 4.15, takes advanced placement classes and is on his way to being named a Big 12 Conference scholar athlete for the third straight year.
“It’s very tough. You have to make sacrifices,” Hammerton said. “Sometimes if you’re friends want to go out and you have homework, you’ve got to do homework. It’s tough sometimes but definitely worth it in the end.”
Hammerton would like to pursue a degree in computer science.
“Teaching (at Richwoods), I had some of the same classes he has, said Richwoods golf coach and alumnus Patrick Hogan. “I know exactly how tough those classes are. To see him succeed in those is pretty special.”
Later this month, he’ll participate in Operation Christmas Child, a project of the international relief agency Samaritan’s Purse. He’ll pack a shoe box with school supplies and fun items to be sent to needy kids around the world.
Shoe box packers are encouraged to include a note for the recipient. A few years ago, he heard back from a boy that received his gift-filled shoebox.
“I got some pictures of him with a toy I gave him,” Hammerton recalled. “It was a good feeling knowing I made a little difference in someone’s life.”