Relaxed Gray finds discus distance

NEW MIDDLETOWN — Stay calm and just throw.

McDonald throwing coach Mary Domitrovich tells Zach Gray, a senior, that the first attempt inside the throwing circle is hers.

“Going everything into your first throw you have to be long and loose,” Gray said. “Coach Mary said it’s her throw, meaning I can’t go out there and go as fast as I can and try to rip a throw out there, try to get as far as I can. The first throw is relaxed.”

Then, Gray can go for all he can on the other two attempts in preliminaries.

A couple of weeks ago, he felt the disc leave his hand with a much better feeling than he’s had before.

Gray was in his motion, whirling around the concrete circle. He released the metallic, weighted disc, saw it sail through the air and land where it hadn’t been before.

He previously had heard officials say a distance around 160 feet when marking his throws. During the Trumbull County Meet on May 2, Gray heard 182 feet.

“I slowed everything down,” Gray said. “It all kind of clicked. That throw came.”

Coach knows best.

The long practice hours and weight lifting in the offseason produced the best throw in Division III.

“That was a huge mental break for him,” Domitrovich said. “He broke through that wall and relaxed then. Things started to flow a little bit easier for him.”

If Gray wins this year’s state meet, he’ll be the third Division III state champion in this event from McDonald. Christian Smith won in 2015, while Matthias Tayala won in 2011. Smith has the D-III state record of 203-9, while Tayala has the state meet record of 196-3.

There’s pressure for Gray, trying to live up to those standards. He said he can hope to live up to those expectations. Both have worked with Gray.

“They give me tips of what I can do better, what I can improve on,” Gray said. “They’re like good figures to look up to.”

Let that pressure go and be himself. That’s what Domitrovich tells her current thrower.

“He stays relaxed when he goes in and be confident in his own abilities and what he’s done, trying to be consistent throughout the year, recognizing that first throw has to be technically sound to get a good one on the board,” she said.


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