Shivers claims state discus title
COLUMBUS – These Salem Quakers may not be runners, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t winners.
Three Salem athletes tossed, threw and jumped their way to three medals at the Division II state track meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Senior Anthony Shivers successfully defended his state title in the discus – with the second-best toss in any division in the 106 years of the state track meet – while senior Zack Wukotich took second in the boys high jump and senior Ciera Trybend was eighth in the girls shot put.
Shivers’ winning throw of 203-feet-2 was 5 inches behind the Division II state record set by Fostoria’s Corey Echelberry at the 1999 state meet.
“I knew it was good because I heard someone behind the cage squeal,” Shivers said. “It’s hard to tell because of that cage. I would have believed them if they said 180 because it’s so hard to tell.”
Shivers also broke the stadium record of 200-7 set by A.J. Hicks of Solon in 2011. Shivers has been throwing in the 190s all season long and he bested himself on Saturday.
“It felt good coming out of my hand,” Shivers said. “But it wasn’t any different than any other of my throws. This was the day to do it.”
Shivers somewhat struggled in the preliminaries, fouling once and sitting in sixth place with a toss of 162-9. His three throws in the final were to top three in the competition.
“I wasn’t even completely sure I would make it to the finals,” Shivers said. “That was a great field. I ended up sitting fifth. At that point, I said to myself ‘It’s states finals, let’s go.’ My first throw was actually pretty conservative but it still went 192 feet. I knew after that I could chase the record.”
He went 192-8, 203-2 and 187-1 in the finals
Shivers was nearly joined on top of the podium by Wukotich, who placed second in the high jump with a personal-best leap of 6-feet-8.
“I was expecting fourth coming in today,” Wukotich said. “I just wanted to get in the top four.”
He did even better than that, coming second to only Watterson’s Joe Mankovecky, who reached 6-10.
Saturday was Wukotich’s first trip to state, an experience he credited to his setting his personal best by 2 inches.
“I’ve never even seen a picture of this place,” Wukotich said. “I didn’t think that many people would be there because it’s the first event of the day. But seeing this crowd got my adrenaline going. It definitely helped me out.”
He is the first Salem high jumper to place at state since school-record holder Tim Cope placed third in Class AAA with a leap of 6-9 1/4.
Trybend grabbed her second medal of the weekend, placing eighth in the shot put with a toss of 39-10 1/2. St. Clairsville senior Alyssa Robinson won her second straight state title in 46-1 1/2. Trybend had also placed fifth in the discus on Friday.
“It’s nice,” Trybend said. “I mean, I didn’t make it at all last year. So getting these two medals is nice.”
Reaching the podium in two events was an accomplishment that Trybend appreciated.
“It’s disappointing about not throwing my best,” Trybend said. “But you got to do what the day what gives you, I guess. I wanted to make it to finals in shot put. I knew that I could, but it was tight getting in. I was afraid it was going to work out like last year when I got 10th in prelims, but it worked out.”
Shivers was the only one to go over 200 feet in the three divisions at the state meet.
In the Division I finals, Lakewood St. Edward senior Aaron Zedella was first (196-6) and Austintown Fitch senior Bill Price, a prized Ohio State football recruit, was second (184-4).
Shivers’ previous best of 198-1 came at the Optimist Meet on May 4 when he beat both Zedella and Price.