Before the days when football, basketball and the other sports invaded your TV, there were ancient cultures who threw heavy objects for sport – and one of those was the discus.
It’s been a staple in track and field for centuries, and now Meadowbrook High School possesses one of the top throwers in the state in senior Clifton Du’shawn Thompson.
Spring marks Thompson’s third season under Rickey Brown, Meadowbrook’s head coach for track and field, and in his final semester at Meadowbrook, Thompson plans to leave on a high note.
“I want to get out there and score a lot of points for my team,” said Thompson. “I want to break Meadowbrook’s records.”
At 6’2” and 205 pounds, Thompson, also a football player at Meadowbrook, not only relies on his athletic ability for success; he also spends the majority of his time training for what some may consider merely a feat of brute strength. In high school regulations a discus weighs 3 pounds, 9 ounces and is 8 inches across.
The process to throw a disc properly requires the synchronized movement of a person’s entire body and when done correctly can make a four-pound mass fly like a Frisbee.
“Myself, coach John Allen and coach Tarsharnda Gainey have worked with Du’shawn hours on his form,” said Brown. “He works very hard to make sure he’s throwing consistently.”
Although no records have yet been set by Thompson, he has seen success in past seasons. Last year, his personal best was a disc thrown 165 feet, 9 inches – a throw earning him first place in the Milestat.com Elite Track Classic. He then went on to win the Central Region championship, and with another throw at 162 feet, 3 inches, he found himself finishing second place in the state, a mark Thompson hopes to exceed this season.
“My biggest goal is to break the state record,” said Thompson. “I’ve been working very hard this summer. My hope is to throw over 200 feet.”
Proud mother Donyelle Thompson says it’s nothing for her boy to do over 500 push-ups a day, lift weights on a daily basis, all while remaining active in the church and carrying a 3.0 GPA this year. She remembers fondly when her son was selected out of 15,000 athletes to carry the Olympic torch.
“He works out hard, he’s very focused for a young man,” said his mother.
Thompson also takes a leadership role on his teams, even helping out other athletes build their game. According to his mother, Thompson has remained grounded despite his level of success.
“He’s also a faithful and humble young man,” said Mrs. Thompson.
The Central Region isn’t the only group of people taking notice of Thompson’s athletic achievements; several colleges have been hot on the trail for Thompson. The top two on the list have been West Virginia Wesleyan and Hampton University.
“I fully expect Du’shawn to improve his technique and excel at the college level,” said Brown.
Thompson and the rest of the Monarchs will lace up their spikes for their first meet of the season at Dinwiddie High School on Wednesday, April 6th at 3:30 p.m.