Thrower making history
It’s all about the perpetual motion.
Kent State redshirt sophomore and McDonald High School graduate Matthias Tayala took a 35-pound weight, which has the same size and circumference as a softball, strapped to small, hefty chain bolted to a D-shaped handle. Tayala built momentum with a simple, but slowish turn to build more speed followed by a few high-velocity circular whips around the throwing circle before releasing.
When Tayala threw the weight 72 feet, 2.5 inches on Dec. 6 at the Golden Flash Gala indoor track and field meet inside the Kent State Field House, he made history.
With the throw, Tayala broke a 40-year mark set by Jacques Accambray in 1973 of 71-10.75. Accambray represented France in the 1972 Olympics in the hammer throw.
“It’s felt pretty good, I guess,” Tayala said. “I haven’t been throwing a lot of weight throws. I won’t say unexpected, but it’s a good feeling to get that out of the way – this early especially.”
This early throw may have landed Tayala in the NCAA Division I national indoor meet in Albuquerque, N.M., March 14-15, according to KSU coach Bill Lawson.
“Just a fantastic effort,” Lawson said in a press release, “and more importantly, with the series he threw with three or four throws over 70 feet, that far surpasses his lifetime personal record.”
This early mark gives Tayala some much needed breathing room for the rest of the indoor season.
“Now, I can get back to training and not worrying about hitting any high marks,” Tayala said.
He’s been training quite vigorously with KSU throws coach Nathan Fanger.
“He’s one of the biggest reasons I’ve had the success I had this past weekend,” Tayala said.
The two have been honing Tayala’s skills on the weight throw, hammer and, even shot put and discus – even in the cold December weather.
The shot put and weight throw are indoor events, while the shot put, discus and hammer are for the outdoors.
They’ve set up a shed outside with a heater to give the two an occasional break from the cold with a portable heater.
“Having that heater helps a lot in that cold,” Tayala said.
Fanger said Tayala’s perpetual motion has cut through the cold and warmed up the indoor track and field scene.
“If the goal is to go for 200 throws for the week, we go for 200 throws for the week. He’s got that attitude to be a winner,” Fanger said.
Tayala said his KSU teammate and fellow McDonald graduate Miles Dunlap, who he rooms with, helps him stay on track. Dunlap, a junior 400-meter hurdler, has been guiding his friend these past couple of years.
“It’s good to have him here and see him do well, it always get me motivated. Living together helps because we don’t get sidetracked at all and try to stay focused here,” Tayala said.
Tayala has been to the NCAA outdoor championships in the hammer throw, but Fanger said being the nation’s best is well within Tayala’s grasp.
“He wants to be a national champion in the weight and in the hammer,” Fanger said. “He loved the discus and shot and he can qualify for the NCAAs. The shot put is his third event. If he can get some good points in the conference championship he can have a team victory.
“He has now established himself as one of the top throwers in the country. When he goes to the U.S. National Championships, my goal would be for him to be in the top eight. The next year, he can apply to be on the world championship team if he goes over the mark. The magic mark is 76 feet, 31 inches.”
The World Championships and, yes, maybe 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro might be a possibility for Tayala.
Tayala, a physical education major, plans on getting his bachelor’s degree in May 2015 and heading to graduate school the following year.
“I’m looking to train pretty hard,” he said. “Olympics has been a goal in the long run, but I don’t know what’s going to happen from now until then injury-wise. I just have to stay healthy and keep moving forward.”
Tayala, a 6-foot, 225-pound thrower who has benched more than 300 pounds and squatted more than 500, has the build of a Division I football safety.
Most world class hammer throwers are build more like lineman, around 6-4 and 275 pounds. However, Fanger said Tayala has made the most of his abilities and frame. Some top-flight high school athletes can’t make the jump the way Tayala has at Kent State – especially in the hammer. The men’s hammer weighs 16 pounds and measures 3 feet, 11 3/4 inches with the elongated chain and handle.
“He’s learned how to apply force to the hammer, application to the ball,” Fanger said. “Once you learn how to take the strength you have, no matter how strong you are, and apply that force to the hammer. That’s the key on how you get good.”