MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ben Kytta throws the shot with his coach, who happens to be his father watching on — Ty Kytta.
“He’s been my coach for, you know, five, six years now,” Ben said. “I always came to meets when I was little, and came to practice and, you know, kind of playing tracks been part of my life since I was born.”
It’s been quite a ride for this family of four. Before Ben and his sister Hayley were born, they lost a son at 10 weeks.
“One pound, 10 ounces and 12-inches long. And he hung in there through open heart [surgery] and kidney failure and 10 weeks of ups and downs,” Ty Kytta said. “[He] made it through our anniversary and passed away the next day.”
Then they lost a girl prematurely.
“They wheeled her over to children’s hospital and she had about 104 [degree] fever and they had to induce labor,” Ty said. “Alyssa was stillborn.”
When Hayley was in high school, she was on track to throw the discus in college until just before her senior season.
“She was in a car accident and ended up with a lower-leg injury and permanent nerve damage from her knees down,” he said. “She lost her senior season.”
She went on to graduate from college, but would never throw again.
That’s part of what motivates Ben.
“She never really got the opportunity and, you know, she had a pretty good shot back then. She always comes to my meets and she’s supported my through the years, too,” Ben said. “She’s always been there for me, and so I’m trying to do well for her.”
Ben’s efforts were good enough to earn him a scholarship to the University of North Dakota.
“It’s kind of a dream, honestly. I mean, college is expensive, you know, all of it helps,” he said. “It felt really good … it felt like stuff paid off.”
And that’s what has made this spring so memorable. A scholarship, a state meet appearance and a father-son bond.
“Kind of indescribable. Just doesn’t get any better,” Ty said. “It’s great coaching other kids, and I had a lot of great throwers, you know, and a lot of close relationships. But to get to work with your kid and see them succeed is priceless.”
Ben finished sixth in the state class AA shot put Friday.