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Garfield’s LaPorte eyeing more accolades

Set two PR’s this past weekend and is hoping to break the Garfield’s school record in shot put

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Garfield senior Riley LaPorte rotates during a throw in the discus last Saturday at Poland. A former state runner up, LaPorte set high marks on Saturday after competing Friday as well.

POLAND — Imagine waiting all week to suit up and release all your energy at your track meet, set a new personal best in both events you participate in, then having to completely clear your mind and restart early the next morning at a completely different meet with different opponents and setting a PR again.

Garfield’s Riley LaPorte admits he was tired, but his performance last Saturday at the Poland Invitational illustrates why he was the state runner up in shot put last spring.

“I just kinda go through my stretches, my warmups and then clear my mind and breathe a little bit,” LaPorte said on Saturday. “I know that I can hit my marks easily, so I just try to focus on that.”

Fending off excellent throwers from McDonald in the form of Ryan Henry and Dante Mediati, LaPorte took the crown in the shot put with an aforementioned personal best 58-03, beating the 58 flat he recorded Friday night at Mogadore. Adding to that was a fourth place finish in the discus at a mark of 149 feet, shy of the personal best 161 set Friday evening.

LaPorte came into the season off a second place finish at the Division II OHSAA State Championship meet in the shot put a year ago and is inching closer and closer to the titular 60-feet mark that so many throwers strive for while eyeing the G-Men program record of 58-10.5.

“Honestly, I try not to think about it too much because I try not to let it get to my head, but getting a PR by a foot is huge, even three inches is huge,” LaPorte said. “I just know that I’m going to throw 60 this year.

“I just kinda look forward to my next goals that I have. I start with my small goals. Once I achieve those small goals, I set more and it just keeps pushing me further.”

Discus uses a more specialized technique, where the smallest movement can make or break making it into the sector or not, versus the raw strength needed to chuck the shot.

As with many other throwers, LaPorte favors the shot over the discus.

“I’ve been working on shot since seventh grade, disc not so much, but I’ve been working more on it now,” LaPorte said. “I just love hitting my big PRs and listening to everyone in the crowd go ‘wow.'”

LaPorte has had an eventful spring to date, heading down to Columbia, South Carolina for the All-American Track Classic at Spring Valley High School. The meet is sponsored by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation, with Garfield being the only school represented from Ohio.

To travel a long way from Garrettsville and bring back an event win? That has meaning.

“It really showed that this small town school can do big things,” LaPorte said, winning that event with a 56-0. “Those kids have been throwing outdoors all year basically, and we throw indoors and it’s a totally different surface than outdoor, so it was really nice going out and beating those kids.”

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