Austen Daisa was preparing for his last throw in the shot put Friday at Star Track XXXIV as his coach Dan Quillen beckoned him to the fence.
"Let it all hang out," the Black Hill High School throws coach said.
The junior baseball player-turned-thrower responded, "I’m going to do it for my dad."
His father Jody Daisa, who has been ailed with a serious illness for a year, proudly looked on as Austen finished second in the state with a throw of 50 feet, 9¼ inches, earning him second-place.
In what has been a rookie throwing season touched by personal records, Jody Daisa has made a point to attend every one of his son’s meets, sometimes even getting to watch from inside the pit.
"It’s been difficult a few times and I get tired, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world," Jody Daisa said. "I told him that. I’m not going to miss any of it. … It’s just been an awesome experience and it’s been very uplifting for me."
Such was the case for Austen and older brother, Alex Daisa, through their sport endeavors. No matter what they did, Jody showed up. It serves as a treatment of its own.
"He knows no matter what he’s going through that is one of the bright points of his life," Austen Daisa said. "So anything he can do to watch me he does, because that is what makes him happy."
Austen Daisa wasn’t drawn to shot put, rather, he was pulled to it.
Quillen noticed Daisa, also a left tackle on the football team, at the winter lifting program he facilitates at Black Hills. The third-year throws coach liked his strength, footwork, quickness and most importantly, his smarts — he fit the mold for a thrower.
Daisa’s sophomore year he attended the first few track practices. Baseball, his hallowed pastime, called him back.
In order for Austen to swap baseball for track, it took convincing or, rather, pestering. He’d played baseball his whole life, but regretted playing his sophomore year.
"I knew I wasn’t going to play baseball because I didn’t have that much fun," Austen said. "(Quillen) kept dogging on me to do track and he kept telling me everyday. … so I decided to give it a shot."
The switch for big, strong athletes to throwing is no seamless one, Quillen attests. But junior Austen Daisa has made it look easy. Daisa went from a throw of 40-8.00 at the South Sound Jamboree Mar. 17, to 50-10.00 mark at the 2A District 4 Championship last weekend, which he undershot by just 3/4ths an inch Friday.
Black Hills throws coach Dan Quillen labels Daisa a "special talent."
"Austen is one of those special athletes who only come around every now and then," he said. "I’ve seen a lot of throwers. No one’s ever done what I’ve seen him do. Not in their first year."
Lincoln’s 4x100 relay team of Tony Archie, Darien Williams, Walker Flynn and Terrell Bromer dropped their baton between the first and second leg and finished last in Friday’s preliminaries, meaning it did not qualify for Saturday’s finals. They entered with a 3A-best time of 42.42 seconds. …
River Ridge’s Josh Braverman finished second behind Bellingham’s Benjamin Doucette in the 110 hurdles in 14.48 seconds. He entered with the second-best time in the state in the event (14.06). …
Federal Way’s D’Jimon Jones, a Washington State University football signee, tied his season-best in the high jump at 6-8, but took second to Walla Walla’s Mitchell Jacobson. …
Tahoma’s Ginny Mehl took second in the 4A javelin (135-9) and the shot put (42-9). …
South Sound athletes took six of the top eight spots in the 4A triple jump, including Federal Way’s Mason Sallee (48-0½), South Kitsap’s Albert MacArthur (46-10), Curtis’ Reggie Hayden (45-7¼), Federal Way’s Marcus Tate (44-11½), Timberline’s Jaylen Taylor (44-2¾) and Beamer’s Jalen Williams (44-2). …
Bonney Lake’s Caleb Davis broke his own school record in the shot put at 54-8¾ and placed second behind Everett’s Nicholas Blair (55-0½).
Staff writer TJ Cotterill contributed to this report