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Mitchell Christian’s Nelson claims discus crown

Mitchell Christian junior Chandler Nelson spins before throwing the discus at the Class B state track and field meet Friday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS - Spectators know when Chandler Nelson is in the throwing circle.

The Mitchell Christian junior usually thrusts his discus into the air with a violent shriek, letting it soar deep and much further than his opponents’ throws.

Nelson earned his first state championship in the Class B boys discus Friday during the state track and field meet at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.

Nelson’s victory was solidified on his second to last throw, resulting in the top throw of the day at 172 feet, 2 inches, edging out Northwestern’s Nathan Palmer at 168-7.

Palmer was in the lead before a 45-minute delay due to thunderstorms in the Sioux Falls area, but he was no match for Nelson. Palmer said he was simply outworked by the Golden Eagle.

“He worked harder than me,” Palmer admitted. “I was pumped and ready to throw. I was feeling really good about it, but then we stopped, and I wasn’t loose anymore.”

Nelson’s rough outing last year at the state track and field meet provided a new incentive coming into this season. He scratched on all three of his throws in the first round as a sophomore, and it motivated him.

Nelson ran the 200-meter race last year, but Mitchell Christian’s head coach Bob Lemon and the other coaches who work with Nelson decided he needed to focus solely on discus. Prior to coming into the state meet, Nelson’s qualifying throw of 174-10 eased his mind.

“I built a little confidence,” he said. “It was a real tough race. I mean it came down to the last couple throws.”

Lemon preached about Nelson’s willingness to get better on his own. Lemon said Nelson won the region in shot put and went home to get in two workouts before the meet had even finished.

“To be able to act on it and be able to get a result of all those hours he put into it is incredible,” Lemon said. “He works so hard at whatever he does. It doesn’t matter whether it’s basketball, track or football. It tells you what kind of person he is.”

Nelson also placed second in shot put Friday with a 48-9 effort behind Faulkton Area’s Alec Lee, who placed first with a 51-5 mark. Kadoka Area’s Logan Ammons placed third with his best throw of 157-2, and Garrett Boylan, of Newell, placed fourth with a throw of 152-7.

“He is a very well-rounded individual,” Lemon said. “It’s a testament to his family. They are supportive in everything that he does.”

The throwing talent runs in the family as Nelson’s older sister, Mariah, won the girls discus in 2011 with a throw of 124-7.

Mitchell Christian’s Aaron Lemon also placed for the Golden Eagles, taking second in the boys 800-meter run. The senior ran a time of 2 minutes, 1.28 seconds to finish runner-up behind Wessington Springs Jase Kraft. Kraft recorded a time of 1:59.64 to win the event.