High School Track & Field

Hard work paying off for Ridgeland thrower Brown

Jaguars senior has sights set on another state discus title

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comApril 19, 2012 

Alvin Brown hears the same comments from teammates he remembers filling his head when he was a freshman.

"You make it look so easy," they tell him.

Throwing the discus wasn't always easy for the Ridgeland High School senior. He started off in ninth grade with straight power throws and no technique. His first tosses traveled only 60 feet or so. He spent that summer watching YouTube videos of some of the best throws, repeated in slow motion so that Brown could study the movements.

He won region as a sophomore but failed to qualify for state. Then in 2011, he broke through with the Class 1-A state title.

But it was a process. And that's what he preaches to the Jaguars' other throwers.

After a second-place finish at the prestigious Taco Bell Classic in Columbia, Brown threw 159 feet Wednesday to win the discus at the Beaufort County Championships held at Battery Creek. The event is a primer for the Region 5-A meet next week at Whale Branch High School, followed by Lower State and a chance to repeat as state champion.

"I tell them it will all come, that they'll see once they become older," Brown said. " 'You'll all see. It's all a matter of how hard you work and how hard you want it.' "

Athletes at Ridgeland and Whale Branch are making a mark across all classes this season.

Whale Branch senior Andre Watson, who cruised to victories Wednesday in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and as part of the 4x100 relay, owned the fastest time in the state in the 100-meter dash until Taco Bell, when Dreher's Brandon Sanders ran a 10.58 to finish second ahead of Watson's 10.60. The Warriors' 4x100 relay also boasted the best time in all classifications until Summerville snatched it away.

Watson, whose father is a Marine, transferred to Whale Branch from Japan before the school year. He became acclimated for his first high school season in the United States by running with fellow Warriors sprinter Josh Fields.

"Coming here, I knew the competition would be bigger," Watson said. "I kept pushing myself."

Brown, who owns the Ridgeland school record with his 160-feet, 5-inch throw at Taco Bell, wants to hit 170 feet in competition. He's thrown as far as 184 feet in practice.

The key will be in his spin, he said, finishing with his feet centered instead of letting his momentum carry him to the left. That's how precious distance is lost.

All the throwers he watches online share the same trait in their technique. Their feet finish centered.

In addition to working toward another state title, Brown helps Ridgeland's other throwers. He is the only one who executes the full spin. The rest rely on power throws. He said they don't have the hip flexibility needed to execute the throws he does.

"I'm planning to have the record for a long time," Brown said. "Nobody's going to throw 160 feet until I don't know when. It's going to be awhile, though. If somebody comes up working as hard as me and really wants it as bad as I want it, I feel like somebody can break that record."

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