After finishing third in the shot put at the Division III regional meet, McDonald senior Matthias Tayala went into the state meet figuring he’d need to throw at least 60 feet to win.
Tayala had never thrown 60 feet. Heck, he’d never thrown 59 feet.
Unlike the discus, improvements in the shot put are usually measured in inches, not feet.
Ignoring those facts, Tayala promptly threw 60-93/4 on his second throw.
“After that, I said if someone beats me, they deserve it,” he said. “My goal was to throw 60 feet so I was happy with it.”
Then he threw 64-8, winning by 6 feet. A few hours later, Tayala bested himself, twice breaking the Division III state meet record in the discus with throws of 194-1 and 196-3.
He finished the day with two gold medals. More importantly, he finished with 20 points.
The next day, teammate Miles Dunlap added 24 points of his own to help the Blue Devils capture the team title.
The victory was made more sweet considering Tayala had lost in the regional finals in football and basketball and had come one point short of winning a regional track title.
“I knew after the first day we had a good chance of doing it,” said Tayala. “It felt amazing to finally win a team title.”
Tayala was a third-team All-Ohioan as a quarterback and a first-team All-Ohioan in basketball, but there was never a question of which sport he would pursue at the next level.
He’ll begin his college career in a few months at Kent State, where the versatile athlete will add a few more events (the javelin, hammer and weight throw) and a few more pounds (his football and basketball workouts made it difficult to add muscle).
“We went far in football and that [season] went right into basketball with no break,” said Tayala who is undecided about his major. “The same thing happened with basketball, so I haven’t really had a break. Until now.”