Destin Middle School has a state champion walking the halls.
With a discus throw of 140 feet 10 inches, Destin eighth grader Ryan Driscoll earned the title of state champion last weekend at the Florida Middle School State Championships held at IMG Stadium in Bradenton, Florida.
Competing against 36 young men from throughout the state, Driscoll made his best mark on his first throw.
“You get three throws, but I did the best on my first one,” said the 14-year-old Driscoll.
He said his next two throws were 10 to 15 feet shorter than his first.
“I just messed up a little on the release,” he said.
His closest competition and second place throw was 136 feet.
Driscoll is fairly new to throwing the discus.
“I originally made the team last year for shot put, but then a friend of mine who was really good at discus showed me how to throw,” Driscoll said, referring to Brady Bachman who is now at Fort Walton Beach High School.
At tryouts last year he threw about 30 feet but by the end of the year Driscoll was throwing almost 100 feet in the discus event.
And this year he broke Bachman’s record of 140-9 with a throw of 142-4 at the Okaloosa County Championships a couple of weeks ago.
So when he won at state last weekend, Driscoll contacted Bachman first.
“I texted Brady like first, because he got third last year,” Driscoll said.
And Bachman was quick to congratulate Driscoll telling him “good job.”
But Bachman’s “atta boy” has been the first of many.
“A lot of people are telling me congratulations, good job,” he said,
For his efforts at state, Driscoll brought home a championship hat as well as a medal.
But all the accolades haven’t come without some hard work.
Driscoll says he spends the majority of track and field practice throwing the discus plus comes up sometimes on the weekend to throw.
“Discus is just a lot of technique,” Driscoll said. “I’m a lot about technique.”
Some of his technique includes spinning, having the proper release and know where to plant your feet.
But he keeps it all pretty simple.
“I just wind up once and then throw,” he said.
Driscoll, the son of Jennifer and Patrick Driscoll of Destin, hopes to throw at Niceville High next year.
In the meantime, his medal will be hanging up in his bedroom somewhere.