Compact discus: Church’s small size doesn’t hinder him in discus throw
Tyler Church is proving it’s not how big you are, it’s how far you throw.
Friday, the Fruita Monument High School junior tossed his discus 141 feet, 8 inches during the first day of the Tiger Invitational at Stocker Stadium.
Church finished second behind Palisade’s Tanner Smith’s throw of 144 feet, 3 inches.
Church is regularly one of the smaller throwers to step into the ring, but that hasn’t stopped him from being ranked 13th in the state rankings in Class 5A.
“It motivates me to be as good as the bigger guys,” Church said. “For me, it’s about the technique and getting my foot placement right on every throw.”
Church’s season best throw is 144 feet, 7 inches. Fruita Monument throwing coach Cameron Ross said Church is able to compete because of his athletic ability.
“He’s an athlete, a hard worker and he just gets at it,” Ross said. “He’s one of the smaller guys in the throwing ring, but he goes out and does it.”
Church also gets competition from teammate Jaden Koos.
Koos is out of town, and unable to throw in this weekend’s event, but is ranked right behind Church in the state rankings with a throw of 143 feet.
“You have competition with the rest of the state, and they have competition on the team,” Fruita Monument head coach Tom Goff said. “Even though they are friends, they are always competing with each other, and it’s made them better.”
Koos is also a junior, and has shown improvement from last season.
“Both Tyler and Jaden have added 20 feet in the discus,” Ross said. “They’ve grown quite a bit.”
Church and Koos have one meet remaining to stay ranked in the top 18. Church said he hopes they both can attend the state meet.
“We are always striving to be the first one to hit a certain distance,” Church said. “I’d love to have us both go because we’ve both worked so hard.”
The Tiger Invitational featured mostly prelims in the running events Friday. Grand Junction’s Payton Glasoe qualified third in the 100-meter dash with an 11.66.
“This is the first (meet) we’ve had qualifying,” Glasoe said. “It was nice because if you made a little mistake (Friday), you know you have another race.”
There are 18 teams competing, including Front Range teams Pomona, Wheat Ridge and Ralston Valley. Having a variety of teams and the meet split into two days gives athletes a feel closer to what the state meet will be like.
“It’s huge to get the kids running in six or seven races in two days,” Palisade coach Tim Reetz said. “That’s what happens at regionals and that’s what happens at state, and this helps them get used to that.”
Finals from Friday included Central’s Brailyn Reddick finishing second in the girls shot put in 36 feet, 2 inches.
Grand Junction’s Sarah Versluis won the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 2.25 inches.
Fruita Monument’s Kyler Brown finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run in 10:02.44.