Aaron Deaton from Twin Valley South throws shot put during the state finals in Columbus on Friday, June 5. His third throw landed at a distance of 56 feet, nine inches, securing the Division III state title for Deaton, who became the Panthers first state champion since 2004.

COLUMBUS — Twin Valley South’s Aaron Deaton, with chalk still on his neck and in his beard, was all smiles as he received his gold medal for winning the boys’ Division III shot put during the state meet in Columbus on Friday, June 6.

Deaton broke his own school record twice on the day with his first toss coming in at 55 feet, two and one-half inches before measuring his third (and winning) throw at 56 feet, nine inches. He beat his next closest opponent by seven and a half inches.

“I am ecstatic. I am happier than ever,” said Deaton. “A lot of thank yous to my coaches and parents and other parents. A lot of great people surrounded me this year – coach Wells, coach Faber, Shain Wyka from Eaton Barbell. They just put me in the best position I could be in to succeed. It’s been great. So much support from the community and everybody. It’s awesome.”

He becomes South’s first state champion since 2004 and becomes the first thrower to take gold in Panther history.

“I came in with the mindset that I was going to win because what’s the point of competing if that’s not what you’re thinking,” said Deaton. “I was honestly expecting to get top four. I just wanted to PR and throw my best and I did. Everything came together the past two weeks.”

Deaton is only a junior and made his second appearance at the state track meet. Last year, he was unable to reach the podium. He talked about the experience of coming to Columbus and competing against some of the best athletes that Ohio has to offer.

“It’s super humbling,” he said. “In discus, you have kids that are flirting with the state record. You have some of the best throwers in the whole state. Even in the stadium, watching the kids run, it’s the best athletes in our division and in the whole state. It’s really humbling to be classified in the same group as these athletes.”

Richie Faber, only in his second year as South’s head coach, said Deaton has been a security blanket for the team all year, guaranteeing a first, second, or third place finish out of him in the shot put and discus.

But even though he had come to expect big things out of his big man, Faber was still blown away by his performance against the highest level of competition.

“It’s just amazing. I’m extremely proud of him for his performance. I knew coming in it was a possibility but you don’t really expect it until it happens,” said Faber. “It’s just an incredible performance and well deserved. It’s a great feeling. I know we’ll be riding high for quite a while, now.”

Faber also says this raises the bar for next year’s track program.

“It’s great when you see your kids get to that level of success. It’s going to raise the bar for next year, too. We’re going to have to come in do a better job to keep him on the right track and keep improving,” he said.

Deaton also competed in the discus on the day, placing 11th with a throw of 146 feet, two inches. He was unable to reach the podium in that competition.

“I would have liked to place but I think I’m coming off the win in shot put, it doesn’t bother me too badly to be honest. I would have loved to place but it happens,” he said.

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