The first blood-curdling grunt. That’s signature Nolan Van Amen.
But his throw felt so good, the South Kitsap High School junior flexed his arms and did one more.
“Aaaauuuhhhhh,” he grunted.
“The second grunt only comes on those types of throws — where I PR by 9 feet,” Van Amen said.
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Actually by 9 feet, 1 inch. He later even topped that personal-record, hitting 184 feet, 8 inches and won his third consecutive 4A state discus title on Friday at Star Track XXXIV at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
Asked what was better — the throw or the grunt —South Kitsap throws coach Renard Williams took the throw.
“He added the extra grunt in there — he hasn’t done that before,” Williams said. “But when you feel good about it, you’re obviously going to let everybody know.”
Van Amen’s previous best throw this season was 174-5 at the West Central/Southwest bidistrict championships last week. His best before that — 165-7 at Arcadia, California.
He threw 20 feet farther than he did two weeks ago. He won the title last year at 165 feet.
“Discus has been a little bit rough for me,” Van Amen said. “The past couple of weeks I’ve been putting it together, working harder than I ever have in my life. I’m just glad it all came together when it had to.”
This came after Van Amen fell short in defending his 4A state shot put title on Thursday, placing third behind Tahoma’s Deszmon Humphries and Gig Harbor’s Connor Jost.
He wanted to make sure it was off his mind before Friday’s discus. He spoke to his father, but also felt like he needed to speak to his mom.
“My mom passed a few years back and yesterday about 9 p.m., it was dark out, I really felt like I needed to go and visit her,” Van Amen said. “So I went over there to talk to her and whatnot, got everything off of my mind and went home with a clear head.
“I came out today and I knew she was watching over me and helping me along the way.”
Van Amen’s first throw went 183-6. So did his second.
“The kid works extremely hard,” said Williams, who in 2010 helped Eastern Washington University’s football team to the Football Bowl Subdivision championship.
“It’s kind of how I approached football. You can see it when he approaches practice or approaches the weight room or talks about track and field in general.
This makes back-to-back three-time state 4A discus champions after Ferris’ Damon Unland won three straight from 2011-13.
Van Amen could be the first to four-peat if he does this one more time next year.
“I wanted to make all my family and all my friends proud,” Van Amen said. “I can honestly say I did that today.”