Boys Track: Monster toss nets Libertyville’s Dziedzic state medal
Updated: July 30, 2012 1:42AM
Libertyville High School junior Matt Dziedzic qualified for the IHSA Class 3A state track meet finals with a personal-best shot put toss of 56-4 3/4 in Friday’s preliminaries, but that proved to be merely a prelude to his performance in the finals less than 24 hours later.
Dziedzic, in just his second season throwing shot put, unleashed a toss of 59-1 1/2. That vaulted him into second place, more than a foot clear of his closest competitor. Cary-Grove senior standout Josh Freeman won easily (66-0), coming up just a few inches shy of the all-time state record.
Libertyville throws coach Parker Rohde could only shake his head when reflecting on Dziedzic’s toss Saturday.
“Nobody goes up (that much) in the finals,” Rohde said. “I have never seen it before. Just a tremendous effort to throw with his best form with all the pressure on.”
Rohde actually had a strong hunch Dziedzic was poised for a big performance at the state meet.
“I predicted to our head coach Jason Schroeder, after practice (May 23) that he could go 58 on Saturday,” Rohde said.
What had him so confident?
“We had noticed from watching his throws on film that he wasn’t getting his left foot down right away, which means he couldn’t pop his right hip,” Rohde said. “He had two (great) days of practice, and also had a lot more energy after we tapered him off squats and power cleans for the week.”
Dziedzic said he benefited from the chance to get some throws in on May 24 at the site of the state meet: Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium, in Charleston. In his final throw, he unleashed a beauty, measuring 58-5.5.
That throw gave him a lot of confidence, and he also relished performing in front of the huge crowds.
“I loved the atmosphere and knowing that everything was on the line,” Dziedzic said.
Dziedzic’s statement-making throw came on his second-to-last attempt Saturday.
“You know when a big one is coming,” he said. “I moved my feet faster and that helped me turn and get even more power. Once I threw it, I was facing the rings, and two or three seconds later I saw that it was just shy of the 60 feet mark. I flexed my muscles and yelled as loud as I could. I got really excited.”
Once he settled down, Dziedzic made sure to appreciate the opportunity to climb the medal stand to accept his second-place award.
“I managed to look up, and saw my parents and coaches right in front of the podium cheering and clapping,” he said.
Dziedzic and Rohde already are thinking about next year. Dziedzic has established himself as a favorite in shot put, and also as a possible State qualifier in discus.
“I think he has a shot at the state record (66-5) in the shot put,” Rohde said. “He can do it as long as he keeps lifting, and his parents, who are both great cooks, keep feeding him.”
Hit record: Senior A.J. Wilson did not qualify for the finals, but he still set a school record in the 300-meter hurdles (39.08) — and finished 13th in the state.
“I was a little disappointed I didn’t make the finals, but it was a great feeling to look up at the scoreboard and see that I broke the record,” Wilson said.
Wilson also enjoyed watching Dziedzic’s success Saturday.
“Usually I’m running while he’s throwing,” Wilson said. “To see the shot put at the state level is amazing. I can’t imagine throwing it 10 feet, let alone 60 feet.”
Long run: Seniors Easton Huch and Shane Reilly represented the Wildcats in the 1600.
Reilly closed out his career by posting a time of 4:21.25 in the preliminaries. Huch advanced to the finals, and placed 11th in 4:21.19.