Provo • For Jay Wadley, the difference a year makes is 13-and-a-half feet.
It’s the difference between fourth place in discus, where he finished last year at state, and winning a 5A title, which he did Thursday morning. And in that difference is a year’s worth of honed technique — technique which has elevated the Viewmont senior from a football guy who throws discus to an honest-to-goodness discus standout.
“Last year, I kind of got by on strength,” said Wadley, who won his first state title. “But strength only goes so far.”
Wadley and Vikings teammate Josh Huff finished 1-2 in the 5A event, with Wadley hitting a career-best 169-foot-5.75-inch mark. It was just short of a meet best, set by 6A state champion Jaren Kump (169-9).
It comes down, Wadley said, to coaching. He’s got a good one: Former Arizona All-American Nicole Lloyd, who won a state championship for Viewmont in 2004, in shot put.
Lloyd has coached at her alma mater for three years, ascending to the head coach role for the Vikings this season. She brought 25 athletes this year to BYU’s Robison Track, but throwing is a discipline close to her heart. Both she and her husband, Zack Lloyd, recorded top-8 national finishes as Wildcats.
Wadley and Huff are among the first of her pupils, and both seniors have learned well over the years.
“We hound technique from early, early, early in the season,” she said. “Some days we just work on technique, and I don’t care if they throw 10 feet in front of their faces as long as they’re doing it the right way.”
Wadley picked up the sport two years ago, even though he was already established as a football player. He’s planning to hit the gridiron for Idaho State, after his LDS Church mission, as a defensive end. But he was a natural at discus, and concentration on his form has bolstered his distance in the event. He’s scheduled to throw in shot put on the second day of the meet on Friday.
Nicole Lloyd had recent hip surgery, but she still can throw now and then.
“On a good day, I can get close to her,” Huff said. “But most of the time, I can’t get close.”
Viewmont is losing enrollment with the opening of a new high school in Farmington, but Lloyd has a goal to continue to build the Vikings’ track program with throwing as a strength. The hope is to one day compete with a program like Herriman, which had the top three finishers in boy’s 6A discus, all throwing above 154 feet. On the girl’s side, Herriman also had three of the top four finishers in 6A shot put, led by state champ Losa Latu (43-4).
It’s an uphill climb, Lloyd said, but she hopes to restore pride to Viewmont in the process.
“I always wanted to give back,” Lloyd said. “I love my school, and this is a great way to do it.”