The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 7, 2014

Fitchet’s hefty heave earns silver

Edgewood star goes out in style

COLUMBUS — It would’ve been easy for Edgewood senior shot putter Matt Fitchet to come into Friday’s Division II state track and field meet a little complacent.

Fitchet’s goal his entire career had been to make it to state and that was accomplished last weekend when he won the Division II regional meet in Austintown and entered Friday seeded sixth.

But, when Fitchet launched a throw of 55 feet, 1.5 inches on his second toss at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, suddenly getting there wasn’t just the accomplishment.

He was in contention.

That personal-best toss for the 6-foot-6 senior propelled him to second, making him the state runner-up to Genoa Area’s Logan Bryer, who won with a throw of 55-8 on his fifth throw, second in the final round of throws.

“I came in seeded sixth, took second, state runner up…” a stunned and satisfied Fitchet said. “I’m still sky high, I can’t believe that I did it.”

Fitchet had gotten to 55 feet before, but never in competition.

“(Edgewood throwing coach) Ms. (Beth) Simpson and (Edgewood boys coach ) Mr. (Jim) Sanchez said, ‘it’s your last year, stay calm and just let it go. You’ve done it before in warmups, it just hasn’t been in competition,’” he said. “I tried not to let the nerves get to me. I kind of finally calmed down once I got my first throw in and just let it go.

“Then to hear the 55 I didn’t even know what to feel, I just smiled and went over and gave my parents a hug.”

Fitchet knew going into the event that a throw of more than 55 feet could put him in a high position on the podium.

While he hadn’t had a throw of that length in a meet yet in his career, he felt it was possible after a positive week of practice.

“I felt pretty confident going in,” he said. “I worked really hard this week and worked on a lot of little things. A lot of form work. I was the only one in the ring so I spent a lot of time just throwing.

“Then, I don’t know, it just finally all came together. It’s a dream… A dream come true.”

With Fitchet popping his longest throw early in Friday’s proceeding, he had to sweat it out as his fellow competitors tried to catch him and Bryer.

But, Fitchet was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Evan Loughman of Sheriden fouled on his third and final attempt of the finals, guaranteeing the Warrior senior a placing no worse than second going into his final throw.

“I was sitting there after every throw just saying, ‘oh that looks close to mine,’” Fitchet said. “Then, right when that last kid that was in third didn’t beat me and I was the state runner-up, happy.”

After fouling on his previous two throws in the finals, Fitchet’s final toss went 53-9, which wasn’t enough to catch Brye, but he was still thrilled he’d be receiving a silver medal on the podium.

In a highly competitive field, Fitchet and Bryer were the only two competitors to throw beyond 55 feet.

The Mount Union-bound football player admitted he was trying to throw something a little special in that final round of tosses knowing he was already in second.

“I was just like, ‘I’ll let the form go a little and just try to muscle it,’” he said with a laugh about his first two failed attempts. “It was just an honor to take second, anyway. It didn’t matter. I still don’t feel like I did it but I did it.

“It feels awesome.”

A silver medal was a great way for Fitchet to wrap up his high school athletics career.

“To take state runner-up is awesome,” he said. “I got so many ‘good-lucks’ yesterday and everybody was rooting for me, I felt like I had to. I didn’t want to let anyone down. I care so much about the team and brining something back to Ashtabula because not that many people know about it.

“To go out with a bang my senior year then focus on college and get ready for football is perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

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