National champions come to Clark County to lend a hand
VANCOUVER — Those who throw … know.
They know about all the opportunities.
Which is why the experts in the field are so enthusiastic about teaching young athletes about all of the benefits of their sport.
Heritage High School’s track and field program held its annual throwers clinic on Saturday, with national champions helping dozens of athletes from throughout the region with some new ways to train.
“Throwing can change your life,” Scott Halley told the athletes. “There is opportunity if you want to take it to the next level.”
Halley thought he was going to be a baseball player in high school. Instead, after not making the team his junior year, he found track and field. By the end of that spring, he was competing in Oregon’s state championships. He was a state champion his senior year.
That led to scholarships and a triumphant college career, with an NAIA national title.
He got into coaching, too. But that need to compete got him out of “retirement” and back into the game. In 2015, he won the USA Masters event for his age group and earned a silver medal at the World games.
Now 40, he likes to spread his love for throwing to any and all who are willing to participate.
Javelin, discus, and shot put were on display Saturday.
Sam Crouser, who in 2010 set the national high school record in the javelin while competing for Gresham High School, also gave tips to the athletes. Crouser won two NCAA national titles at Oregon, too.
Saturday’s clinic is a way to get athletes even more excited about their sport.
“We want them to use their full potential,” said Houston Dillard, an assistant coach at Heritage who helped run the clinic. “We want to give them the opportunity to commit themselves and go the extra mile.”
This was not just for Heritage athletes. There were throwers from all over, including Evergreen, Mountain View, Battle Ground and more.
“It’s hard to find clinics, especially for throwers, locally,” Dillard said. “Usually, you have to travel.”
Halley stresses an “efficient” technique, to reduce injury risk, which helps a thrower’s career last even longer.
“When they become a student of the event, they can continue developing even when they are away from their coach,” Halley said. “They can develop on their own.”
Some techniques they learned on Saturday they will be able to perform in their living room, in front of a mirror, Halley said.
With those techniques, with training, with commitment, it is possible some of the high school throwers on Saturday will see themselves on a podium at the end of the season.