The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Michael wins shot put, overwelmed by support


Jaryd Cline

SHOT PUT SPECIALIST: A group of Goldendale fanatics cheer on sophomore Reece Michael while he throws the shot put at the state championship meet on Saturday in Cheney.

Goldendale's Reece Michael admitted he was a little nervous while warming his arm up and getting loose shortly before he was set to throw the shot put on Saturday at the WIAA Track and Field State Championships in Cheney.

The sophomore with Kabuki Syndrome had easily qualified to compete as a para-athlete at the state meet with a throw of 12 feet, 9 inches during the team's first competition of the season on March 18, crushing the qualifying mark of eight feet.

But on Saturday on the campus of Eastern Washington University, Michael soon found out there was nothing to worry about. With the entire Goldendale fan base, along with dozens of other spectators in the bleachers and behind the shot pit cheering him on, Michael equaled his previous personal-best throw of 15-04 feet as the crowd erupted in applause.

Moments later, Michael took his spot at the top of the podium as the ovation from the jam-packed crowd filled the stadium as the shot-put specialist donned his state championship medal around his neck.

Diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome as a one-year-old and told that he may never walk or talk, Michael and his parents, Kim and Jimmy, took it one day at a time. And in the shot put pit this year, Michael took it one throw at a time, saving his best heave for last and leaving the meet as a state champion.

Unsure if he would compete this season, Michael received overwhelming support from the Goldendale track and field staff along with the rest of the team. It wasn't only the Timberwolves however. He's received heaps of support from other teams and communities at every meet he competed at this year.

At the South Central Athletic Conference District Championships on May 19 in Naches, Connell's Seer Deines, the district titlist in the shot put, shook Michael's hand and told him he will see him at state. Shortly after Deines finished runner-up on Saturday in the event and Michael went out and threw for himself, a group of Zillah athletes grouped up and joined him for a picture together.

SHOT PUT SPECIALIST: Michael poses for picture after tying his previous-best throw of 15 feet 4 inches.

In the first year the WIAA allowed para-athletes to compete and score team points, Michael was the pioneer and lone boys throwing competitor and was among five para-athletes across the 1B, 2B and 1A classes to compete at the state meet.

Michael also earned one team point for the Timberwolves with his performance as the Goldendale boys finished in a four-way tie for 24th place with eight team points.

Next year, Michael will look to defend his title in the shot put, but wants to become a dual-threat athlete and try his hand at the javelin. With the way this track and field season ended, it would be no surprise to see Michael standing again on the podium during next year's state meet.


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