MIDDLETON — For the first time all season, Priest River thrower Colby Poe found himself in an unfamiliar position: second place.
Yet after six consecutive shot put victories, six-straight PRs and a season that saw a good thrower blossom into one of the best in the state, Poe knew he had one more throw left in him.
On the final shot put throw of his high school career, Poe fought the constant downpour of rain, spun through his full rotation and sent his shot 51 feet, 10.25 inches into the spongy sand in order to win the 3A boys shot put title Friday.
“On that very last throw, I knew I was going to beat him,” Poe said. “It felt awesome.”
Although weather conditions limited most PRs on the day — to wit, Poe was the only 3A thrower to break 50 feet in the shot put, even though three throwers were seeded at 50 feet or greater — winning the state title was the last box Poe needed to check in his memorable season. The senior set new PRs in both the shot and the disc, swept both throws at districts and was ranked amongst the state’s best regardless of division all season.
“He was able to come through on his last throw as a senior should,” Priest River head track and field coach Jared Hughes said. “Watching that was pretty cool. I’m very proud of him.”
Poe has been no stranger to the state meet. As a junior, Poe finished second in the discus — excruciatingly close to accomplishing a goal he set out to achieve as a freshman.
In order to do that, he made an effort to make his form have a full, counter-clockwise rotation, as opposed to merely facing the sand, and throwing — otherwise known as “gliding.”
Thus, with one more season left, Poe decided it was time for a change. Under his own volition, Poe watched hours of elite shot put-throwers on YouTube throughout the offseason and strengthened himself in the weight room in order to become strong enough to make these mechanical changes. Winning the state title on Friday validated Poe’s extra efforts.
“He’s the hardest worker in the weight room,” Hughes said. “We watch his film all the time in practice, he listens and he’s coach-able. He’s an amazing athlete where I can tell him to do something and he’ll actually do it, while a lot of kids physically cannot.”
While Poe credits Hughes for “being there all the way” during his throwing career, Hughes views Poe as an example of an athlete who is willing to work — no matter what.
“He’s not the biggest guy in the world — he was probably the lightest guy out there, weight-wise,” Hughes said. “But he’s definitely one of those guys who was talented all along and he actually had the work ethic to take it to the next level.”
After the win, plus a fourth-place finish in the disc, Poe will ride off into the sunset as one of the best throwers Priest River High School has ever seen. Both his shot put (53-9.5) and his discus (153-9) marks rank in the top three in program history; as testament to the work he put in over the offseason, Poe set both marks this season. He will graduate in a few weeks and join the Marines.
“There’s not a better person who I’d want to defend this country,” Hughes said. “He’s awesome.”