Newport Harbor High junior Ethan Cochran said the rain was on and off Saturday during the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Cochran said it was raining pretty good, but it died down to a drizzle during the boys’ discus competition at Buchanan High in Clovis.
The last thing Cochran was worried about was the weather. He had a state title on his mind, and all it took was his first throw.
“It seems like [my first throw] is when I’m most relaxed,” Cochran said in a phone interview. “I just want to get a mark in first.”
That first throw —185 feet 9 — was more than just any mark, holding up as Cochran won the state title. According to DyeStatCal, he is the first Newport Harbor boys’ thrower to win a state title in the discus. The last Sailors boys’ thrower to win a state title was Dave Kurrasch in the shotput, in 1975.
“Obviously we’ve had some pretty fair success,” said Newport throws coach Tony Ciarelli, in his 17th year, in a phone interview. “We’ve had more than a few seconds. We’ve had a lot of guys who have been close. Ethan did what he had to do today.”
Cochran was joined as a medalist by Newport Harbor senior Ryan Andrews, who was fourth in the boys’ shotput with a 58-5 1/2.
“It’s really nice,” said Cochran, who, along with Andrews, drove back to Orange County later Saturday night and was hoping to make it to a Newport Harbor prom after-party. “All the work I put in over the last six months, it finally paid off.”
Cochran fouled on four of his other six finals throws, although even his fourth throw, a 183-6, beat everyone else’s best efforts. But it was the first throw that made the difference.
“He’s a first-throw guy,” Ciarelli said. “He’s definitely one of the guys who likes to put the pressure on the rest of the competition … Obviously, I’m very elated about [his win]. Ethan did a great job. He stayed within himself and didn’t let the rain affect him.”
Nick Budincich of Loyola finished second with a 178-5 on his last attempt.
Cochran, who had qualified first Friday with a 186-8, did not approach his personal-best of 195-4, set when he won the CIF Southern Section Division II title. But he was more than happy with first place. He said some of the other throwers looked uncomfortable in the light rain, but Cochran had competed at the Stanford Invitational earlier this year in worse conditions.
“I thought I would have to throw farther to win state,” he said. “But I was pretty consistent throughout the season, and consistency gets you on the podium. I believe that’s why I made it all the way here.”
Andrews, who plans to walk on at UCLA, achieved his 58-5 1/2 on his first attempt of six. He said he had one throw that was likely over 60 feet and could have got him third place, but he couldn’t quite stay in the ring.
“I felt good about it,” Andrews said in a phone interview. “It was a great year as a team, and a great year as throwers. I’m happy. My goal at the beginning of the year was to be on that podium.”
Dos Pueblos senior Nicholas Scarvelis won the state shot put title with a mark of 64 feet.