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Campbell uncorking big throws

COLOME -- Matt Campbell has been heating up. The Colome junior thrower had some of his best throws in both discus and shot put last week and he has his eyes set on solidifying himself as one of the state's best throwers. A fifth-place finisher in...

Colome's Matt Campbell throws the shot during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays last weekend in Sioux Falls. (Eric Mayer/Republic)
Colome's Matt Campbell throws the shot during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays last weekend in Sioux Falls. (Eric Mayer/Republic)

COLOME - Matt Campbell has been heating up.

The Colome junior thrower had some of his best throws in both discus and shot put last week and he has his eyes set on solidifying himself as one of the state's best throwers.

A fifth-place finisher in the discus for Gregory at last year's state meet, Campbell, who transferred to Colome, holds the top mark in Class B boys discus by more than nine feet at 169 feet, 9 inches. He hit his personal-best mark at the Don Diede Relays on May 3 in Freeman.

"It was a crazy feeling," Campbell said about his big toss. "The wind was working for me and everything was going right. I've been having a real good release at the end and I've been really explosive lately."

Campbell's top toss is also the longest throw by any South Dakota athlete in all three classes this spring.

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"Matt's a real strong athlete," Colome track and field head coach Charles Hosford said. "He's as strong as they come and he's set a precedent with our throwers."

Only a few days after hitting 169 feet in Freeman, Campbell took third place in discus at the 91st Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday in Sioux Falls. He had a toss of 157-09 and despite beating out more than 50 competitors, Campbell left a little disappointed.

"Being able to go out and say he's the best is something he wants to do," Hosford said. "Getting third at Howard Wood was awesome for him, but disappointing for him, too, because he had the ability to throw what he needed for first place."

For discus and shot put competitors, there's a lot more to the event than meets the eye, and Campbell said a good throw begins well before the item leaves the hand.

"It all starts at the very beginning," Campbell said. "I need to get my left knee to lead in front, followed by my right heel and then the explosion and release at the end are the important keys."

Corking the disc and watching it fly around 170 feet is enough to keep Campbell motivated and wanting more. He said his goal is become a state champion.

"I just need to have a great day and be focused," said Campbell, who also holds the second-best Class B mark in shot put at 49-5. Harding County's Garrett Boylan is currently atop Class B with a throw of 52-1.75

Hosford said Campbell has already put in the hard work and it's beginning to show. Hosford added there's not a day Campbell hasn't been in the weight room or working on his throws.

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"Matt throws disc extremely well," Hosford said. "You see him working on his steps before a throw, during practice and always working on his steps."

With the help of other throwing coaches around the state, and with Hosford, Campbell has honed his craft. Campbell has become such a student of the art of throwing discus and shot put, he can only improve by finding minor tweaks and changes.

"He has the strength and the natural ability to throw," Hosford said. "The only way he's going to get better is to keep working the little things."

Along with winning a state title, Hosford said Campbell has ambitions of clearing 175 feet in the discus and 52 feet in the shot put.

"I fully expect him to go to state and throw over 170 (feet) in disc and over 52 (feet) in shot," Hosford said. "It seems he's throwing better and better each week."

Becoming a Cowboy

Since joining the Cowboy track and field program this spring, Campbell has helped reinvigorate the throwing program in Colome. The Cowboys didn't have anyone compete in any throws last year, but the interest in the sport has grown with Campbell's presence.

"He's a great, humble kid," Hosford said. "He's done a great job adjusting from Gregory to Colome. He's really helping out our young kids and he's continuing to get better at every track meet."

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Campbell's "gracefulness" has really stood out for Hosford, who said athletes with Campbell's ability can sometimes seem above helping others. The second-year Colome coach has been equally impressed with Campbell's throwing distances and his ability to teach and share his knowledge.

"The first thing he's doing is helping the fifth- and sixth-graders learn how to throw," Hosford said. "It's been a real blessing for our kids and for us coaches."

Campbell said Hosford has done a good job of pushing the entire team during the team's final month of competing.

"It's been a lot of fun," Campbell said. "We're working really hard."

Campbell and Colome compete at the Region 6B meet on May 19 in Gregory.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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