Salem’s Shivers makes a splash in discus
Quaker junior sets regional record at the Division II meet at Bedford
By Joe Scalzo
This is a story about how Salem junior Anthony Shivers erased the memory of his worst day in track and field to set the Division II regional discus record.
But we’ll get to that in a second.
Because this story really begins more than a year earlier, when Shivers and Mike King were freezing their frisbees off at a regular season invitational at Bedford High School. Thanks to a very long throw — and a very wet field — King’s discus hydroplaned into a creek just beyond the throwing area, splashing into the unusually deep — and raging — water.
“We had no idea where it was,” said throwing coach Jen Neapolitan. “We never found it, which made them mad because it was their favorite disc.”
Fast forward to Thursday. Shivers was back in Bedford for the regional meet, this time on a hot, dry day. On his first attempt of finals, his discus landed 181 feet, 8 inches away — a meet record — then kept going, rolling down the small cliff and (you guessed it) into the creek.
It wasn’t until after his final two throws that they finally had time to find it. That’s when Neapolitan mentioned last year’s lost discus, joking to one of the meet officials that she’d give him $20 if he could find it.
He did. And she did.
“I’m a woman of my word,” she said.
Shivers’ throw was six inches farther than the previous regional record (set by Berkshire’s Dan Taylor in 1993), 9 feet farther than last year’s state-winning throw and more than 30 feet farther than his best (and only) preliminary throw of the 2011 regional meet. He fouled his other two throws last year and didn’t even make it to finals.
“That [2011 meet] made me hungry,” said Shivers. “All season, I practiced as much as I could at keeping my throws in the middle.
“My first throw today, I just tried to lock in state. After that, I went for the record.”
Poland’s Dan Kreatsoulas placed third in the discus to also earn his first state berth. He and Shivers were the only area boys to qualify for Columbus. Most finals are Saturday.
Shivers, whose best throw this season was 188-6, will enter next week’s state meet as one of the favorites, both for his length and his consistency. Most of Shivers throws are in the 170s and 180s.
“I would think he’s the most consistent thrower in the area,” said Neapolitan. “He’s really level-headed. We don’t have to worry.”
And while Thursday’s record throw should draw attention entering the state meet, Shivers said he wasn’t trying to send a message.
“I just try to let my throws speak for themselves,” he said, shrugging.
His teammate, junior Ciera Trybend, is a little more vocal. After placing second in the shot put last week at districts, Trybend said she told her coach, Bill Neapolitan, “Pack your bags. We’re going to Columbus.”
Then she backed it up, placing fourth on Thursday to grab the final state-qualifying spot. She was the only Valley girl to earn a state berth with no one qualifying in either the high jump or 4x800 relay.
“I didn’t want fifth,” Trybend said. “Now I just want to medal [in Columbus]. I don’t care what medal, as long as I get one.”
To do so, she’ll need to finish in the top eight, which is no small task for a first-time qualifier.
“You gotta represent,” she said. “We’re a small town but we do big things.”