One of the top prep powerlifters in the state, strength has never been an issue for Joe Holcomb.
But when it comes to getting the top distance in the shot put and discus events, technique is equally, if not more important than sheer power.
“I think he’s always understood that a little bit because his dad (Mike Holcomb) threw,” BHS coach Tony Blevins said.
A state champion wrestler, Mike Holcomb qualified to the state track and field meet in both the shot put and discus his final two years at Goshen High School.
Joe matched his father in this his senior season, qualifying to Columbus in the two field events. While young Holcomb may have realized strength wasn’t the only thing that was going to power him to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, it took a while before he made a concerted effort to improve his technique.
“It was my sophomore year because all of my lifts were going up but my distances (in the shot put and discus) weren’t increasing,” he said. “My dad was just telling me ‘The problem wasn’t your strength, it’s your form.’
“So, ever since then I’ve been working on it. I’m starting to get where I want to be with that.”
Holcomb said he’s around 75-80 percent of where he needs to be in terms of form.
Still he was able to finish fourth in the Region 8 shot put and third in the discus. His regional distance was 143-5 in the discus and 49-8.5 in the shot put. Those figures have Holcomb seeded 14th based on regional distances alone but neither is a season’s best for Holcomb.
The senior is the school record holder in the shot put at 52-11 but has been just shy of Joe Kratzer’s BHS best in the discus of 151-7. Holcomb’s best is 144-5.
“I have the best chance to go somewhere in the shot put,” Holcomb said. “I’m ranked ninth right now in the state and I have a chance of placing (high) in the shot put.”
Holcomb qualified for the state meet first in the discus last week but that didn’t take away the pressure as he competed in the shot put.
“I think it added more pressure because of wanting to qualify (for state) in both,” Holcomb said.
Now, however, Holcomb said the pressure is off as he ventures north as one of the top 16 Division II throwers in the state.
“I just want to throw the best I can, represent my school and not worry about the pressure,” he said.
• BHS coach Tony Blevins had never seen it before. Most who attended the regional meet last week at Piqua High School would feel the same way.
But as athletes in the shot put went to the ring for their final throws, several competitors began a rhythmic clapping to urge them on.
“I’m not sure who started it,” Blevins said. “I had not seen that before. They started clapping through the group. I thought it got them all pumped up.”
Holcomb was among the athletes clapping, even though one of the athletes he was cheering on was Clermont Northeastern’s Layne Todd. The Rocket shot putter was behind Holcomb in the standings and had he passed Holcomb it could have knocked the Wildcat out of the state meet in shot put.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports