Provo • Herriman throws coach Darin Beierle stepped up on the lower bar on the waist-high fence running around the track, and leaned over top of the fence as he waited for the throw distance to flash on the scoreboard under Blake Freeland’s name.
“179,” he shouted, and he and whistled in celebration.
That was the throw Freeland won the boys’ javelin with, claiming Herriman’s fifth 2018 UHSAA 6A title in a throwing event and setting a state record (179 feet, 51/2 inches). Girls’ javelin was the only throwing event Herriman didn’t win over the two-day meet at BYU’s Clarence F. Robinson Track & Field Stadium on Thursday and Friday.
“It’s what we do,” Beierle said of Herriman’s tradition of success in throwing. “The indoor season, the offseason, the weight training, everything that goes with it. I don’t have days off. I don’t care if it’s going to rain, I don’t care if it’s hailing, we are practicing. I never take a day off. I don’t care if it’s a throw day or a drill day, we are doing something to get better. And the kids have bought into it.”
Freeland also came in first in shot put (59-9). Jaren Kump won the boys’ discus throw (169-9). Losa Latu, in her first year ever competing in track and field, claimed titles in girls’ shot put (43-3) and discus (117-91/2).
Asked how she rose to the top so quickly, Latu simply said, “Coach Beierle.”
What makes him so good?
“All the passion that he puts into us,” Latu said.
Beierle combined that passion with a focus on film — which he’s been using since the late 1990’s when he had to lug bulky camera equipment onto the field every practice — and a mind for gadgets to teach his athletes proper form.
“He’s got us with a strap on our left arm, a ball in our right arm and a bungee on our right knee,” Freeland said, “and just working our feet over and over, just keeping our hips in front of our arms.”
He also made all of his throwers bracelets, loops of spherical stones, before the state meet.
Beierle joked that he stood all meet, with one event coming on the heels of the next. And indeed his fold-up chair went unused as he stood leaning against the fence, miming and shouting cues (“Keep your speed!”).
His athletes often knew what he was going to say before he said it, able to feel their errors due to rounds and rounds of repetition in practice. Repetition that led to five state titles.