LYNCHBURG — Isaiah Allen took the pressure off himself by taking the lead with his very first throw of the competition.
After that, it was time for some shoutin’ and some dominatin’.
The Sherando senior blew shattered the competition and the record book on Friday with a personal record 62 feet, 5.5 inches in the shot put at the Class 4 state track & field meet at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Allen beat the nearest competitor by almost 10 feet (Kings Fork’s Devin Chambliss, 52-8) and broke the Class 4 state meet record of 61-7.5 set by Courtland’s Jaekob Vollbrecht last year.
Allen coolly hit 54-5 on his first throw, then yelled as each of his ensuing tosses descended to the ground as a result of how pumped he was about his pursuit of glory.
Allen won the first state title of his career when he won the indoor Class 4 championship in February, and he credited his first toss on Friday for paving the way for his first outdoor state title.
“My biggest thing towards the middle to the end of the season was fouling,” Allen said. “I started chasing big throws and started worrying about the competition. I was worried about where I was ranked and other people. I just let external things get to me instead of just focusing on myself.
“My favorite quote is, ‘My enemy is me.’ Just the fact that I got into the finals with a high mark for my first throw smoothed me down. Then the adrenaline really started pumping. I had time to chase one because I knew I was going to get in the finals.”
Allen followed up with a 60-1 on his second throw, then putted the shot better than he ever has in his career on his third, drawing excitement from his fellow competitors and the meet officials.
Though Allen was fired up to make his ensuing throws after his 54-5, he didn’t let his excitement affect his throwing technique.
“The past couple of weeks, me, Coach [Jake] Smith and Coach [Cory] Carlson, we’ve just focused on being calm throughout the throw, just really having that effortless throw,” Allen said. “For me, it’s really just getting through the circle smooth and calm, lining up my throw and hitting my positions. When I landed that [62-5.5] I rotated through smoothly, and I knew it was going to be a big one.”
Allen was hoping for a 65 in the finals because he’s never satisfied, but he’ll take the outdoor state title. Two years earlier, he came into the state meet as the No. 1 seed and didn’t win.
“It’s been a goal of mine since freshman year to come out with a title,” Allen said. “This year I came and did the deal and got the indoor title and outdoor title. I’m completely satisfied with that.”
Allen said he will also get more scholarship money from NCAA Division II power Tiffin as a result of hitting the 62-foot threshold. He said three-fourths of his tuition will be covered.
Sherando head coach T.J. Rohrbaugh believed Allen had bigger throws in him after his stellar Region 4C performance, and he was happy to see him come through.
“He’s never stopped working from Day 1,” Rohrbaugh said. “He’s been out ahead of everyone else all season and it would have been easy for him to rest on what he’s done. But he just kept working harder. He really wanted this, and I’m very, very proud of him.”
Allen was the only local boy to score points on Friday, and he has Sherando tied for third with 10 points. Kings Fork and Deep Creek are tied for first with 11. Handley was a strong favorite to score points in the pole vault on Friday, but that event was not completed because of lightning and will be completed today. Action will begin at 9 a.m for the second day of the two-day meet.
Also on Friday, James Wood junior William Crowder (second in 10.88) and Handley sophomore Malachi Imoh (fourth in 11.00) qualified for today’s 100-meter finals. Neither got to compete in the 200 prelims on Friday because of the lightning.