TACOMA – Damon Unland knows how to hold an audience until the end.
The Ferris senior threw 185 feet, 5 inches on his final attempt to pull off a three-peat as the State 4A discus champion Friday during the second day of Star Track XXXI at Mt. Tahoma High School.
“I thrive on dramatic,” Unland said while smiling.
In early April, Unland threw what would stand as his personal best, 190-3, on his final throw to win at the Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles.
Since eclipsing 190, though, Unland has been nagged by a groin injury that only started to heal a little over a week ago.
“The (training) I was doing last week was stuff I should have been doing three weeks ago,” said Unland, who took second in the shot put Thursday.
He started to return to form this week at practice.
“I’ve been rattling 180s,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been up there. I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to finally come out.”
Unland, who has signed with the University of Wyoming, hadn’t cracked 180 since April 20 when he threw 189-2 to win at the Mooberry Relays.
In the prelims, Unland’s first throw was out of the sector. His second attempt was 172-10 followed by 175-1.
He was in second going into the finals where his first throw went out of the sector and his second flew just 163-0.
“I was messing with some stuff,” Unland said of his first throw in finals. “I started to pick up the speed and I released it too early. On my second one I readjusted in the ring so I was just getting used to the readjustment. The last one I was all ready to go and throw big.”
After Unland released his final throw, he followed it all the way to the ground.
“I was just trying to release and reach out as far as I can,” he said. “I was really calm and relaxed and trying to repeat the Arcadia experience.”
Blasé Neumann of Mead tied for third (14-0) in the pole vault.
There was just one other 4A area medal-winner. Ferris sophomore Jalen Hicks took fifth (43-7¾). Teammate Isaiah Troutt, a junior and the second-seeded jumper in the event, scratched on three attempts in the prelims.
3A: Just two area athletes were medal-winners.
Mt. Spokane junior Carlos Riojas took fifth (170-9) in the javelin and Shadle Park junior Brandon Gleese placed fifth (21-2) in the long jump.
2A: Five area athletes earned medals.
Deer Park senior Jade Wilson finished fourth (14.88 seconds) in the 110-meter hurdles; teammate Andrew Buynak, a junior, took fourth (51-½) in the shot and Stags sophomore Aaron Obert was sixth (49-11¾); Cheney senior Eric Igbinoba took fifth (42-3½) in the triple jump and Clarkston senior Zac Dwyer was sixth (42-2¾); West Valley senior Jesse Monteon placed seventh (158-6) in the javelin; and EV senior Roger Benegar took seventh (6-2) in the high jump.