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A life-changing transformation for Stratford’s Jacob Skroch

Published: Apr. 18, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT
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STRATFORD, Wis. (WSAW) -When the pandemic stopped sports last spring, many area athletes were faced with a daunting question: What next?

For one Stratford basketball player, the answer was simple: Get rid of a demon he had been battling his entire life.

Going back to first grade, basketball has been a big part of Jacob Skroch’s life.

“I don’t know where I’d be without it honestly,” says Jacob, a senior at Stratford High School.

But just as consistent throughout his childhood? His struggles with his weight.

When asked what the heaviest he ever weighed himself at was, Jacob says without hesitation “270 (pounds),” in August 2019.

As a junior, Jacob didn’t play much on Stratford’s magical undefeated 2020 team. When their season was cut short by COVID, and with lockdown looming, he took action.

“After his junior year it’s like ‘Okay, I want to play, and I want to play a lot and I want to be what I know I can be,’” says Stratford Head Coach Curt Schmidt.

“Well, my original goal was just to hit 220 (pounds),” says Jacob.

220 turned out to be a breeze. In three months, Jacob had lost 55 pounds, and he wasn’t done.

“One day he came up, and he had the video, and it was going down to the scale and back up and it said ’199′, and he was like ‘I didn’t think I’d ever see that,” says Jacob’s mother, Nikki Skroch.

When he went back to school in-person, he was literally unrecognizable to some.

“I think five or ten people asked if I was like a foreign exchange student,” says Jacob with a laugh.

By the time basketball season rolled around in November, Jacob had lost 90 pounds.

“I never thought he’d get to this weight,” says Travis Skroch, Jacob’s father.

The difference in a leaner, meaner Jacob was obvious immediately.

“I was like ‘Wow, I feel really good’, I can just keep going, I wasn’t tired really,” Jacob says.

“This year he could rebound and he was fast and he was doing all this stuff and we were like ‘dang,’” says Nikki Skroch.

A transformed Jacob was named All-Marawood Conference honorable mention, won Stratford’s rebounding award, and most importantly, was named team captain by Coach Schmidt.

“It meant a lot,” said Jacob of his captaincy. “It showed me that he trusted me with leading the team, and I took that personal.”

His incredible determination led to the best season of Jacob’s basketball career, a healthier lifestyle, and a message he wants to share with others who may be struggling with the same issues he did for so long.

“Don’t be afraid to start,” Jacob says while getting choked up with emotion. “You’re either going to do it one day, or it’s day one. You’ve got to decide. So, don’t be afraid, and just do it.”

Jacob will start college at the Marshfield campus of UW-Stevens Point in the fall where he hopes to continue playing basketball. He also wants to help anyone who’s looking to start their own weight loss journey. He says feel free to reach out to him on social media, you can also send an email to matthew.infield@wsaw.com if you want help getting in touch with him.

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