ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Kent State University sophomore Matthias Tayala wanted to be seen as one of the best of the best.
His throw of 72 feet, 2.5 inches in the men's weight throw during the Dec. 6 Golden Flash Gala partially helped him to that goal and to this weekend's NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field National Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
That throw in December broke a 40-year old KSU indoor record and put Tayala on the national stage.
Now, the McDonald High School graduate would have to prove his worth - the same worth that earned him Division III Ohio high school shot put and discus state titles in 2011, helping the Blue Devils to a state team title.
Tayala threw 72-6.25 on his sixth and final throw to place him fifth on Friday at nationals.
"It's always good to go by the saying 'last throw, best throw' and being an All-American has been a main goal of mine since being in college," Tayala said.
He was 10th after two throws and it looked like he might miss out on the finals since the top nine advance.
His third throw of 71-7.25 vaulted him to fifth.
"It was a great feeling," Tayala said. "I was happy about how I competed being in 10th going into my third throw and pulling out 71-7 to move up to fifth."
Now, Tayala would like to replicate his success during the outdoor season, which starts March 29 at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational in Louisville, Ky.
"I'm happy about it, but there is now bigger goals for outdoor. Staying healthy is also a big focus for outdoor," Tayala said.
Tonight, McDonald graduate and KSU senior Joh'Vonnie Mosley throws the shot put, starting at 8 p.m.