SALEM - In the team's first meet of the season against Canton South, Salem's Anthony Shivers broke the school discus record.
Then he did it again. And again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
Shivers set the Quaker mark seven times this season and cruised his way into the Division II state track and field meet last week at Bedford High School with a toss of 181-8 - a regional record.
"I got a late start because of basketball season," he said. "But as soon as I got in the flow it allowed me to make the jump. I kept working on technique, and I kept going up."
Shivers is peaking at exactly the right time. His season best is 188-feet and he has consistently thrown in the 170s and 180s - around 10 to 20 feet clear of his Division II competition.
Genoa Area's Logan Bryer won the Lexington Regional at 160-10. Waverly's Dylan Dyke won The Plains regional at 158-1, and Cincinnati Deer Park's Cory Harmon won the Dayton regional at 160-10.
Heading into Columbus, Shivers knows he's the thrower everyone else is targeting.
"It's a little more pressure because everyone is expecting me to go out and win," he said. "But that just drives me more. Everybody wants to get me because I'm No. 1 but I've still got to go out there and do my best. I can't let up. I know I have to be my best at state."
Salem head coach Todd Huda says Shivers is not only obviously the best discus thrower in school history - the records prove it - but one of the best throwers he's ever seen period. He expects the same consistency in Columbus.
"He wants to win it all and I think he can go do that," Huda said. "He has to perform his best. They don't give away state titles, but I don't expect anything different from him than I've seen all season."
Shivers is throwing well but perhaps most importantly, having fun.
He said his junior season has been a joy and it will culminate with this weekend's competition.
"Districts and regionals were a lot of fun for me," he said. "This whole season has just been a lot of fun, especially the regional once I got out. I'm really excited going to state. Anything from here is a bonus. I want to win, but no matter what happens I'm going to be happy with the way this season went."
Shivers throws 9 a.m. Saturday at the Division II State Track and Field Tournament at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on The Ohio State University in Columbus.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org