was buzzing with excitement Wednesday as Olympian Evan Jager—an Algonquin native—returned for a homecoming event.
Jager graduated from Jacobs High School in 2007 as a star athlete, and returned for a meet and greet Wednesday afternoon. Jager recently competed in the , placing sixth place in the 3,000-meter men's steeplechase.
At the meet and greet event, hundreds came to showed their appreciation for Jager. Those at the event cheered and clapped enthusiastically on any mention of his name.
The story that seemed to get the most recognition, other than stories surrounding his recent Olympic appearance, was a dilemma Jager faced at the state championships during his junior year at Jacobs.
Kevin Christian, his high school coach, said Jager was heavily favored to win the two-mile race but instead decided to help his teammates by competing in the 4x800-meter relay, with not as great of favors. The team ended up winning state, setting the state record and placing first in the country.
Jager said that race was one of his top three moments because he got to compete with his three best friends and bring home a first-ever relay title for the school.
Christian also talked about how humble an athlete Jager is.
"Starting junior year (Jager) had rock star status in high school, every meet he went to, every guy and every girl wanted to talk to him, everyone wanted to be him. He was the most popular guy the second we stepped off the bus, yet every time he stayed humble, he never let it get to his head, he was that type of person for us," Christian said.
"He doesn't do this for all the recognition, he started running because he wanted to run for Jacobs, then he wanted to represent the University of Wisconsin, and now he represents the USA, that's what he runs for," Christian said.
The overall theme at the event seemed to signify that Jager is not only an exceptional athlete, but a grounded and humble person, who is grateful for all the support he has received.
"Running well wouldn't mean as much if there was no one around me that cared about it," Jager said.
Jacqui Weber, member of the Jacobs High School athletic booster organization, told Patch.com how much pride Jager has brought to his hometown.
"There's more Golden Eagle pride out there knowing that you have a U.S. Olympian," Weber said, "He is an amazing, very humble young man, and he's turned out to be somebody that I hope that all the kids in high school today can emulate to be like."
Weber said Jager makes a great role model, showing kids that hard work and effort can lead to great accomplishments.
John Schmitt, Algonquin's village president, awarded Jager with a certification of high achievement for representing the village and the United States in the Olympics.
Then and Now: Jager's Path to Success
Back in high school, Jager said he set a personal goal for himself to one day make it to the Olympics.
Even though he was a distance runner, the idea of running the steeplechase came from Jager's high school coach, Kevin Christian.
According to Jager's mother, Cathy, . When Evan's family started watching him compete in the event in April, they knew they had to start booking tickets to London.
Jacobs holds the American record in the event at 8:06:81, and is
All of these successes are impressive considering the had competed in a 3,000 meter steeplechase.
"He loves this race, he feels like it came very naturally to him … the first few times he went over it he was like, this just feels real natural," Cathy Jager said.