Wisconsin Throws Duo Makes National Waves in 2024


Ben Smith and Bryce Ruland have taken the track and field world by storm, establishing themselves as the premier throws duo of the 2024 outdoor season, not only in Wisconsin but nationally. Smith's prowess in the shot put has earned him the top spot in the nation, while Ruland's precision in the discus has catapulted him to the #1 ranking in the country. These standout senior throwers from Wisconsin have not only showcased their individual talents but also highlighted their exceptional skills, making them forces to be reckoned with on the national stage.

Smith currently holds the nation's top spot in shot put, with a remarkable throw of 75 feet, 1 inch, edging out sophomore standout Jackson Cantwell. This throw, achieved on May 6th, was a standout performance, surpassing the next-best mark by an impressive 12 feet. The previous record, set by Fond Du Lac's Matthew Rusch at 63 feet, 2 inches, was no small feat, making Smith's achievement all the more remarkable.

Not only did Smith break the Wisconsin state record by eight feet, but he also joined an elite group of high school throwers, becoming the 32nd person in history to surpass 70 feet and the sixth to exceed 75 feet. This exceptional throw ranks as the sixth best in high school history.

Top USA High School Shot Put Marks All-Time

TX Dallas Jefferson
GA Fallbrook (SD)
PA Knoch
NJ Morristown HS
TX Whitesboro
WI Hortonville
TX The Woodlands
MO Nixa High School
TX Wings Track Club
MA Weymouth High School

Adding to his impressive resume, Smith's career-best discus mark of 210 feet, 4.5 inches, achieved at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in June 2023, ranks him fourth all-time in the combined throws of shot put and discus. His total combined distance of 285 feet, 5.5 inches, puts him in elite company, trailing only Ryan Crouser, Mason Finley, and Gabriel Oladipo in high school throwing legends.

Top Combined Shot Put + Discus Marks All-Time

RankAthleteShot PutDiscusCombined Total
1Ryan Crouser72' 7.5"237' 6"310' 1.5"
2Mason Finley71' 8.75"236' 6"308' 2.75"
3Gabriel Oladipo73' 8.75"215' 2"288' 10.75"
4Ben Smith75' 1"210' 4.5"285' 5.5"
5Jordan Geist76' 0"208' 7"284' 7"

Joining Smith in the national spotlight is Waterford Union senior Bryce Ruland, who has secured the top spot as the nation's #1 discus thrower this season. Ruland's remarkable throw of 210 feet, 10 inches places him at the pinnacle of his event. In the previous season, Ruland dominated the competition, remaining undefeated on his way to securing both the state title and the Nike Outdoor Nationals title. What's truly impressive is that Ruland has shown improvement this season compared to his outstanding performance in 2023, setting the stage for even greater achievements.

Top WI Boys Discus Marks All-Time

Waterford Union
Verona Area

Ruland's outstanding performance this season has him within striking distance of this longstanding state record of 215' 7" set by Sean Pruitt almost 20 years ago. Ruland has come within six feet of the record six times already and as the weather and competition heat up this spring/summer, Ruland should only come closer and closer to the record. 

Both Ruland and Smith rank as the best throwers that Wisconsin has ever developed, with Fond du Lac senior Matthew Rusch not far behind. 

Top Combined Shot Put + Discus Marks - WI Boys All-Time

RankAthleteShot PutDiscusCombined
1Ben Smith75' 1"210' 4.5"285' 5.5"
2Bryce Ruland60' 10.5"213' 9"274' 7.5"
3Austin Glynn62' 3.5"209' 9"272' 0.5"
4Acker Jackson58' 5"207' 6"265' 11"
5Andrew Stone68' 7"196' 7"265' 2"
6Matthew Rusch66' 9"191' 0"257' 9"
7Theron Baumman60' 9.25"195' 8"256' 5.25"

As two of the most dominant throwers in Wisconsin state history, Ben Smith and Bryce Ruland have already left an indelible mark on the track and field scene. With exceptional talent and unwavering dedication, they have set records and achieved remarkable success. As they continue their senior season, there is no doubt that Smith and Ruland will continue to push boundaries, chase records, and solidify their places in the annals of Wisconsin track and field history. Their journey is far from over, and we eagerly anticipate the continued greatness these two athletes will undoubtedly achieve.