SANGER -- Sanger discus thrower Madison Wilson is mentally equipped for this year’s Class 3A state track and field meet, and she isn’t going to be distracted by the environment at Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium in Austin this Saturday.
The sophomore will make her second straight trip to state in discus after she qualified as the ninth seed in her freshman year. This year, as the ninth seed again, Wilson is better prepared mentally and physically, and she knows her experience last year will pay off, not only for this season but her junior and senior seasons as well.
“I was seeded ninth going in and I was nervous,” Wilson said. “I had butterflies going in there. I finished seventh, so that was a plus. I didn’t get a PR [personal record], but I did well for the pressure around me. I knew being as young as I was that that was going to be a learning experience. I knew the next three years I would go for gold. I expect to get better every year, and I want to make it and expect to make it.”
Toward the end of last season’s state meet, Wilson said she discovered a state of mind in which she felt successful.
“At the end of my final throws last year, I was able to relax and just focus,” Wilson said. “I would start my throw and take a deep breath, and everything else fades out. I have to go into a squatting position, and it’s just me and the disc.”
So, for her second time at the state meet, Wilson, who said she has been distracted by other competitors in the past, will be ready to keep her thoughts on herself.
“I try to concentrate on my throw and technique, and I try not to watch the other throwers while they are throwing,” Wilson said. “I’ll talk to my coaches to see what I need to do and it helps me stay concentrated. When I’m at a meet, I try to focus on myself 100 percent of the time and I try not to [watch them] so I can stay focused.”
After last year’s seventh-place performance, Wilson has her eyes fixed on gold. Sanger head coach Clint Davidson said it’s her focus that will get her where she wants to be.
“She’s definitely looking toward the podium,” Davidson said. “The main thing about her is she’s consistent and she’s just a competitor. She gets in there and puts her game face on. That’s what’s great about her — she’s focused and determined.”
Wilson’s expectations were more than fulfilled this season as she hasn’t lost any of her five preseason, district, area or regional meets.
“This year she has won every meet,” Davidson said. “She didn’t get her PR at regionals, but it’s all about the win. It’s hard to tell in the discus. You never know what the weather is going to be like. If the wind is blowing 30 mph, you’re not going to throw your PR. That’s what we teach them.”
Wilson said the weather presents so many different situations that she doesn’t have a set practice schedule anymore. Now she practices in every condition intentionally.
“The weather wasn’t favorable,” Wilson said of regionals, “but it all comes down to who’s the better thrower, and I came out on top. I don’t pick and choose my days to practice. I try to throw in every condition I can. It just got done raining, the disc won’t cut through the air right and it gets weighed down. I have different types of throws and it’s helped me out with all the meets I’ve gone to.”
As much as Wilson wants to keep the exterior stimuli in check, she knows the field is tough and doesn’t have any unrealistic expectations.
“I’ve been thinking about the competition, but what you get down there, it’s what you can do and what you have been doing,” Wilson said. “I’m not expecting a 20-foot PR, I’m just going to throw what I’m going to throw. I think I have a good, fighting chance. It’s definitely going to be difficult for everyone there. We are all close in distance and it will come down to inches.”
If state does come down to inches, Wilson should be in a prime position as she won district by 20 feet, area by 23 feet and in the weather-laden regionals, she still won by 3 feet, 9 inches.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.