Daelin Maple is always up for a challenge.
He’ll have that and more Friday morning when he begins competition in the shot put at the OHSAA Division I Track and Field Championship meet just outside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“Biggest thing for me is having someone to compete against,” said Maple, a recent graduate of Clinton-Massie High School. “Throughout the season … nobody could push me other than (Wilmington state qualifier) Brett Brooks.”
Maple finished second to Dane Tomlin of Western Brown in the SBAAC Track and Field Championship and was second last week at the Region 8 meet.
Other than that, Maple said he’s been on the top of the list for shot putters in every meet.
Maple had a throw of 52-10.75 at the Region 8 meet and finished as runnerup to Xavier Griffiths of Lima Bath who had a best of 54-3.75.
“I knew I had a chance to win, and I did have a good chance,” Maple said. “Unfortunately I didn’t perform how I wanted but I still got second and you can’t be nothing but happy about that.”
One of the physically smaller shot putters remaining, Maple uses his athletic ability to help him keep pace with much larger athletes.
“The biggest thing for me is speed, getting across the circle as fast as I can,” he said. “I have my form down pretty well. There’s things I can work on here and there to be better, I’ll never be perfect, but once I hit my power position, I spin as fast as I can and let it all out.”
Maple’s personal best is 54-2.75, which if repeated would have him in the mix for a place on the podium. There are three throwers among the 18 state qualifiers who went over 59-0 last week.
“You know you’re competing with all the best athletes in Ohio; it just gives you confidence to be one of those athletes,” said Maple.
Maple has never been to Ohio State for a shot put event but knows it will be an adrenalin rush like no other.
“The adrenalin part … I just use it as an advantage to exert myself the best I can,” he said.
Maple competed last weekend without throws coach Jordan Phipps.
“Actually, that was the first meet without him being there,” said Maple. “I called him and said it feels a little weird. He said you got this, just take me along to next week.”
Phipps is a motivator for Maple, someone to push the stoutly built Falcon when throwers can’t.
“He’s pushing me to be better,” said Maple. “He’s a friend, more than just a coach. It’s the small things he can help me with. He’s always positive, always pushing me to be the best I can be. He motivates me. When I get my head down and get angry — because that happens plenty of times — he’s there to calm me down. He says you know what to do, just go do it.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports