Oakdale High School discus thrower Kyle Peterson, a senior, picked a good time for a personal record. His toss in the qualifying round of the CIF State Track and Field Championships helped guide him to a sixth-place finish. For his efforts, he was named The Bee’s Male Track Athlete of the Year.
Inside the ring: Peterson leaves Oakdale as a two-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion and, more important, a medal earner after his sixth-place performance at the CIF State Track and Field Championships. Seeded ninth and facing a make-or-break third and potentially final attempt, he launched a personal-best throw of 177 feet, 6 inches that vaulted him into the finals and eventually held for sixth. “I simplified. Every time I struggle, I over-think it. I got my right leg around, and that was it,” Peterson said. It was an impressive response to 2013, when he failed to reach the state finals. “It crushed me. This year, my goal was to get as many throws as I could at state,” he said. Indeed, he maxed out with nine (three in the prelims, six in the finals). At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Peterson lacks the size and power of many opponents but covers with better technique. In fact, he thought he could crack 180 feet in Clovis. “I had more in me than what I did,” he said. Peterson broke Tim House’s 4-year-old school record in the discus this season and, along the way, was not discouraged by running into superior competition at major meets at Stanford and Arcadia. His confidence grew after he overcame a challenge by Riverbank’s Fabian Arana, who beat him at the Merced-Stanislaus county meet.
Outside the ring: Peterson is a member of a vanishing species – a three-sport athlete. He never stopped for all four years as an offensive lineman for the Mustangs’ football team, a center in basketball and a field-events star in the spring. For that feat, he was awarded a lifetime pass to attend Oakdale regular-season home games in all sports. He also received the school’s Scholar Athlete Award.
What’s ahead: Peterson has received a partial scholarship to attend Sacramento State, where he’s already eyed the school record of 181-1 as a future target. “I might throw the hammer, too,” he said. “I have to get a lot bigger. They already have a guy there who will probably break the record, so I’ll go after his record.”
Quotable: “(Teammate) Hannah (Chappell) is awesome. I can’t wait to see what she does in her final two years. What we’ve done reflects on the great coach we have (Oakdale throws coach Brett Chappell).”
– Ron Agostini