Alex Stout, an Apollo Conference champ in the shot put and a state qualifier in the discus, has committed to Eastern Illinois as an invited walk-on for the track and field team next year.

The Charleston High senior joins his brother, Zac, a freshman pole vaulter for the Panthers who has eclipsed 13 feet this year. 

Alex heaved the shot 52 feet, 2 inches — six feet farther than the runner-up in last week’s Apollo meet. That throw was also 12 feet better than his Apollo performance from the year before, which he credits to both increased weight training and a new release technique. 

“I feel more balanced at the end of my throw and more comfortable during my throw,” Alex Stout said. “I did a lot of basic lifts in the offseason, helping me to become stronger and more explosive.”

His Apollo throw would have placed third in EIU’s recent Big Blue Classic, and would have been second-best among EIU throwers in the meet.

Stout has also thrown the discus a personal-best 45.08 meters, or 147 feet, 9 inches, during last year’s sectionals, which qualified him for the state meet. Stout placed second in the Apollo last week at 39.47 meters, or 129-5.

“Alex has worked hard over the years to make himself a better thrower,” said CHS assistant boys track coach Brad Oakley. “He watches film of his throws and of other throwers. Alex is a strong, athletic kid, and I think his best throwing days are ahead of him. He is a great example for the younger throwers, as well.”

At the start of the season, Charleston boys head coach Alex Koebele said they all had expected discus to be Stout’s prime event. “But he has really taken off with the shot.”

“Coach Oakley has really got the most out of Alex this year,” Koebele said. “They have a great rapport and his shot put throws are heating up.”

Stout said Oakley has spent a lot of time researching shot and discus for him, which has been very helpful.

“He is able to find the little corrections that I need,” Stout said.

Stout next competes in tonight’s Big Trojan Track & Field at Charleston High before heading to an IHSA Sectional the following week at Mattoon High in an attempt to advance to state for a second straight year.