Spin doctor: Palisade’s Smith gets joy from throwing discus far
Tanner Smith loves the finesse involved in field events.
Saturday at the Frank Woodburn Invitational at Stocker Stadium, the Palisade High School thrower finished second in the discus with a toss of 139 feet, 2 inches.
“He’s committed to technique,” Palisade throwing coach Dave Stone said. “He wants to get it down, do it right and that seems to be what’s working for him.”
Smith finished 15th in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet, 11.5 inches.
Smith, a junior, said the discus is his better, and preferred, event. Coming into Saturday’s meet, Smith was ranked eighth in the state with a throw of 140 feet and five inches.
“I love to see the disc fly,” Smith said. “It comes naturally to me, and I’m always working to get better.”
Smith said he learned a valuable lesson at last year’s state meet when he topped his best throw by seven feet, finishing 10th with a throw of 148 feet.
“I learned that even if it’s the last meet, you can always get better,” Smith said.
Smith, who also plays football for the Bulldogs, said it takes time to get comfortable with the throwing motion in the beginning of the track season.
“You have the offseason and you focus on other stuff, and you lose that perfect technique,” he said. “So you have to get that muscle memory back.”
Smith wants to break the school record in the discus, which was set by Nick Stephanus last season — 165 feet.
“I want to get back to my personal record, which was 148 feet,” Smith said. “Then I’m going for Nick’s record.”
Smith wasn’t completely happy with his performance Saturday, saying he was bothered by the adverse morning weather. A steady rain was falling by the time Smith was launching his final throws in the discus.
“The weather might have gotten the best of me,” Smith said. “I got down on myself and the ring was getting slick and my shoes were sliding.”
Overall, Palisade had a good day during the meet it hosted, taking third in both the boys and girls team races. The boys finished with 92.5 points and the girls scored 85.
“It’s gone really well and the kids are starting to get faster every week,” Palisade coach Tim Reetz said. “They’re improving and starting to jell, which is exciting.”
The Bulldogs’ Collin Girardi won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.63 seconds. In the 1,600, Palisade distance runners Katie Mueller and Sarah Kem finished second and third, in 5:45.91 and 5:48.90, respectively.
Kane Gunther finished second in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 3 inches.
Montrose’s Eric Shellhorn won the 800 and 1,600-meter runs. Shellhorn finished the 800 in 2:01.69, and turned in a 4:20.80 in the 1,600.
Shellhorn, a senior, is ranked in the top five in the state in both events.
“The mile is my main event,” Shellhorn said. “That’s the one I work toward.”
Shellhorn finished sixth in the 1,600 at last season’s state meet.
“The mile is a mental race more than anything,” Shellhorn said. “You can’t psyche yourself out and you have to stay mentally strong.”
Fruita Monument’s James Lewis won the long jump at 21 feet, 1 inch, and Keila Utu won the shot put with a throw of 35-5.