West Valley Preps
Joshua Scott is not some big boy who also happens to throw while he waits for football season.
His sport is track and field, like his older brothers Stephen and Andrew. And this Shadow Ridge junior is the best discus thrower in the state.
Scott’s fourth throw of 182 feet 9 inches on May 4 clinched the Division I state championship. He followed it up by winning the discus at the May 11 AIA Meet of Champions by throwing 179 feet 6 inches.
“It was kind of a nice feeling,” Scott said of winning the state title. “I didn’t think anybody else would come back and come close to my throw.”
Throwing coach Dave Smith knew the day would come from the spring of 2017, when he first saw the lanky freshman.
“He was skinny and uncoordinated but he had really long arms. I could see that potential right off,” he said.
Scott said he picked up the discus easier than the shot put. His main issue early on was comparing himself to other people that were older and more physically developed.He started to break out in his sophomore season.
“Mainly he just put in the work. By his sophomore year he started being able to run a straight line and run a pattern. Once that start happening, you can start using the tools you have,” Smith said.
Scott burst onto the scene a year ago, placing second in the Division II discus, with a throw of 171 feet 4 inches.
“I went from being decent to being pretty good, and getting second in the state. It was a good growth year. I was learning a lot,” Scott said.
This spring, Scott shattered his personal best in the Dysart district meet, throwing it 186 feet six inches.
Now he was ready to win, despite facing a much more competitive field in Division I.
Scott gained a lift from a surprising second place finish in the shot put on May 1, the first day of state. He shattered his personal record, heaving the shot 55 feet 3 inches.
“It boosted my confidence a lot. During the shot on Wednesday I PRed by six feet and that’s a lot in shot. It was big that I could do that at state,” Scott said.
Smith said he figured Scott’s growth curve in the shot put would be similar to this.
“The shot’s come along a little slower because it does require more strength and it’s a shorter ring. It takes you longer to learn how to control your body in a shorter ring. It’s a slower process. It took him and extra six or eight months but you saw it at the end of this year. All of a sudden it came together and that’s usually how it happens,” Smith said.
Three days later, Scott fouled his first discus throw. But, Smith said, he got his positions straightened out and the throws steadily came up from there.
Scott won comfortably, with his top toss more than 10 feet further than the second-place heave of Phoenix Desert Vista junior Jorden Morales.
“It was a really good field. It’s much deeper. I knew what he was throwing in practice and I knew if he could put it together, he had a really good chance of winning it all,” Smith said. “We didn’t quite throw what we wanted but it was real close. He had a really long foul at the meet that was the distance we were looking for. He was going for it and that’s the more important thing. I’d rather see him foul on a big throw than go real short.”
No Scott and Smith will work on their summer project — the somewhat forgotten hammer throw.
There is some carryover from discus, but the hammer throw is in many ways its own unique beast.
“It’s different because you take so many turns. It’s a different pull. You have to be a lot more balanced because you have to be strong in different positions,” Scott said.
Smith said 20 Division I colleges and some well-regarded Division II schools have shown an interest in Scott.
The more his hammer throw distance improves, the more than number grows, since finding experienced and skilled hammer throwers who can compete in the other throws is fairly rare.
“He also is a hammer thrower, so usually we try to use our summers to start working on our hammer throwing. You can’t work on it too much during the season,” Smith said. “It’s pretty rare. The East Coast throws it and some of the West Coast throws it. We just started teaching him last year and put him in the Junior Olympics because that’s the only meets we can find. With only one year of training he went right through the sectionals and regionals and made it to nationals. He had a really good year in his age group.”