David Poole was worried about a couple of unknown throwers entering the Region 3-AAAA track and field meet April 25.
Poole, a Lakeside High School senior, had dominated region competition to that point, but had not seen throwers from Westside and was hearing rumors leading up to the meet about an athlete at Richmond Academy whose distances were similar to Poole's.
Lakeside shot and discus coach Chuck Baer says that Poole is an easy-going guy who Poole had no reason to worry after watching his throws.
His distance of 127 feet, 11 inches was a personal best in discus and earned him first place by more than 13 feet.
He also tossed 42 feet, 1.5 inches to win region in shot put.
Poole's finishes qualified him for Thursday's Class AAAA state meet in both events.
"Can't wait," said Poole, who will be competing in his first state meet. "(I want to) do as best I can, finish as high as I can, but just have fun doing it."
Poole placed sixth in the shot and third in discus at the region meet as a junior.
He said his first throw in shot at the region meet in April was "horrible," that the team had arrived late with little time to warm up. His second throw was the winner.
After his winning discus throw, Poole admired the scene. He said opponents' stakes were scattered left and right, leaving a gap down the center to the stake marking his winning throw.
Poole's primary interest is football. The Panthers lineman signed a letter of intent to play football at Valdosta State in the fall. He uses his weight-lifting class period to bull through workouts given to him by Valdosta coaches.
"Track this year was more to pass the time until it was time for me to go," Poole said.
But he said he has enjoyed throwing.
As a freshman, when coaches called out desperately for someone to throw discus, Poole volunteered.
He said he didn't clear more than 95 feet that year. Shot came easier. There is less technique involved and Poole started with decent distances by using his strength.
But discus has become Poole's stronger event. Baer said Poole had improved tremendously from his junior to senior years.
He said Poole's long arms are his best attribute in discus.
"With a wingspan like he's got, once he realizes he can keep that discus away from his body, he can really generate a lot of energy," Baer said.
Poole said he didn't learn the spin, the key to the discus throw, until his sophomore year and that he didn't master it until the end of last season. Baer said the technique and Poole's ability combined to aid his success this season.
Poole said he has looked at some of the distances of the competitors he will face at state.
The top 10 throws in Class AAAA this season are all at least 140 feet.
"He's moved up into the big league now," Baer said. "He's going to have some competition. It's going to be interesting to see how he reacts to it."
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