NAVARRE - Stephen Pop did something no Maplewood boy had done since 2005 - he qualified for the state track and field meet in the discus.
Justin Wajda took fourth in 2004 in discus and sixth in 2005 as a junior and senior.
Wajda's throw of 164 feet, 7 inches in 2005 is the Rockets' record.
"I'd like to beat that," said Pop, who placed third at the Division III Navarre Fairless regional track and field meet.
Pop, whose best throw was 160-5 at districts, had some trepidation that he might not make it to this weekend's state meet in Columbus. Springfield's Local's Stephen Lyons and East Canton's Duke Taylor were about 15-20 feet farther than Pop.
"I was nervous from the beginning. I knew (Badger's) Kenny (Bolyard) was throwing 160s, also," Pop said.
Pop threw 153-0 to place third. The top four in each regional final advanced.
Going to state is a work in progress for the Maplewood sophomore.
"Stevie started out and threw 150 feet his eighth-grade year," Maplewood throws coach Ben Gibson said. "Freshman year, he threw 120s and he's progressed up to 160s at districts - grown 20-30 feet this year. He's got a real natural spin going. He works hard at it and loves the sport."
Also, Gibson knows when Pop has a good throw.
"When he blocks well, I know he has a good throw," Gibson said. "It comes out of the back of the circle. Goes fast, blocks well and keeps his arm up at the end, has a good orbit. Then I know it's sailing out there."
If things go right in Columbus, Pop can set a personal best.
"I think he can go up to 170 if he hits it right," Gibson said.