Taylor Wilson of Bainbridge Island wears his gold medal after taking first place in men’s javelin in the Junior Olympics last week.
It was a terrific toss; the best one of his life.
In fact, it was golden.
Taylor Wilson of Bainbridge Island won a gold medal in the men’s javelin throw at the 2013 AAU Junior Olympics with a tremendous throw of 182’8.
Wilson, 17, has been a member of the Bainbridge High track team since he was a sophomore, and will return this year as a senior Spartan.
The big throw was the last of three tosses in the final. He was the last one to throw, given his three earlier tosses that put him at the top of a field of 54 competitors in the Junior Olympics’ 17- to 18-year-old division.
Leading the pack of eight finalists, however, was Claiborne Eubanks of Bogalusa, La., with a throw of 179-04.
Wilson figured he could hit 180’, at least, because he’d done it before.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Wilson recalled.
Taylor said he knew it was going to fly far when he let go of the javelin.
“A lot of times, right as I release it, I’ll know,” he said.
When it landed at 182’8, he realized he had a new personal best - by about an inch.
“It felt great,” Wilson said.
“I was relieved,” he added.
Eubanks finished in second, and Jimmy Beaird of Gladstone, Mo. was third with a throw of 169-03.
The Junior Olympic Games are the largest national multi-sport event held each year in the country, with 13,000 to 17,000 athletes and coaches participating each year.
This year’s games stretched 10 days, and included events such as cricket, gymnastics, karate, powerlifting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling.
Detroit hosted this year’s AAU Junior Olympics, and events were held at six venues in the Motor City area.
Wilson competed at Rynearson Stadium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Wilson punched his ticket for the Junior Olympics by placing in the top five at the regional qualifier in Tulare, Calif. on
June 14. Regionals featured athletes from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and northern California.
His trip to Michigan for the games was short-lived, however.
He said he had to get back after a few days because of his job on the greens crew at Wing Point Golf Course.
And, no, he doesn’t practice his javelin form at work with the flags.
Taylor, who also placed second as a junior in the 3A Washington State Championships in the javelin, has been on the Spartan track team since his sophomore year.
“My friend Ryan wanted me to come out and throw shot put,” he recalled.
Wilson soon discovered the javelin and was hooked.
“You get to throw a spear across the field. And the coach is great,” he said.
In his first year, Wilson was tossing 114’s.
Things changed. Mainly, his technique.
“I wasn’t using my legs as much it was more my arms,” he said.
An adjustment in pushing off, and he added another 15 feet.
“Pretty much all this year I was throwing 160,” he said.
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Editor Brian Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-206-842-6613.