By: Timothy Kays
Noah Castle has seen it all in 2014. Beginning locally and working his way through the season as the throwing specialist for the Wauseon Indians’ Track Team, his efforts brought spotlights from the state, and then the national stage…yes, national.
After placing second in the D-II State Discus Finals in Columbus, Noah qualified to advance to the NSAF New Balance High School Nationals Outdoor competition held at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. On the afternoon of June 15, he placed seventh in the nation in the discus with a flight of 176′ 1″.
Preseason goals were set and met during 2014, but there is more out there that the Big Indian wants to accomplish in his upcoming senior campaign. Prior to his departure for basketball camp, he reflected on the season past, and talked about what needs to be done to up the ante in the 2015 season.
“Truthfully, it started in the weight room with Coach (Kyle) Borton,” Noah said in looking back on the season. “We’d go in…me, a couple of throwers and two or three runners. We’d go in at six in the morning before school and lifted. Especially the throws…the stronger you can be, the better you’re going to be. There was a lot of technique work, especially in the discus. You’ve got to get your turn down if you want to throw any distance at all. It’s a lot of work…in the gym when it’s too cold, and outside, it’s a lot of work out there, too. Honestly, the biggest asset I had was Coach Borton as a coach. He threw at the University of Cincinnati in college, so he’s very knowledgeable. He pretty much got me to where we are now.”
As the season progressed, Noah got steadily better, but being a member of the NWOAL, he found himself competing against the likes of Nick Demaline (2014 D-III State Champion in the shot) of Liberty Center and Marcus Myers (D-III Tiffin Regional Champion and third place at State in the discus) of Patrick Henry. In the NWOAL meet, Noah finished second in the shot behind Demaline, who easily won the event with a conference record smashing throw of 62′ 4″, breaking the 12-year old mark of Wauseon’s Dave Bzovi by nearly three feet. There was more than one record to go by the boards on that day though, and it came in the discus. Noah launched the platter 176′ 7″, breaking a decade-old mark, and relegating Myers to second by over ten feet, and Demaline to third by close to twenty.
“Going into the league meet, I had just thrown for the school record at Elmwood at 189′ 1″, and Marcus had just thrown in the high 160s,” Noah recalled. “Going in, I was thinking win the disc. I knew the record was within reach, so I wanted to break the record. In the shot, I was hoping to get second because Nick’s out there throwing 62 feet, which this year wasn’t going to happen for me. I was just hoping to hold on to second, which we did. We won the league and broke the record. It wasn’t by as much as we wanted, but after a really good meet (Elmwood), you usually don’t come right back and top it. I was pretty happy with how it went.”
The regular season came to a close, bringing about the postseason, beginning with the D-II Districts at Defiance. There, Noah won the shot put event to advance to the D-II Regionals at Dayton. The real eye opener came in the discus event. It was there that Noah exploded into the spotlight. His throw of 178′ 5″ not only won the event, it was not even close. Sam Meece of Napoleon finished second to Noah…more than 30 feet behind. The Big Indian was on his way to Regionals as a double District Champion, and his preparation for the postseason had him peaking at the right time.
There are differences between the regular and postseasons. “First of all, the format is different,” Noah explained. “In the regular season you get four throws, but in the postseason you get three in the prelims and three in the finals. For me at Districts and Regionals, where we knew that I was probably going to win, it was the pressure of not fouling. You don’t want to be the guy who’s supposed to win by 30 feet, then you foul out at Districts and your season’s over. I think that it’s more of an emphasis of going out and getting a relaxed first throw, and not just going out and trying to blow the doors off the competition. It’s just work your way into the finals, into a good throw, and then into a winning throw. The Regional shot put didn’t follow that model, and I think that’s why we struggled so much. I rushed two throws in prelims and fouled them, then made it into the finals, rushed and fouled two more. I think that it’s important in the maturing process to handle that relaxed first throw.”
As he eluded, the shot was not kind to Noah at the D-II Regionals where he finished eighth overall at 45′ 11.5″. The discus, once again, was another story. There were four Regional events running simultaneously across Ohio, and Noah was throwing in Region 8 in Dayton. All season, Noah had throws that were record setters, but he saved his most convincing for the event that would send him to the State Finals. Noah won the D-II Regionals with a throw of 179′ 4″, shattering the D-II Region 8 mark of 171′ 1″ set by T. J. Lyons of St. Paris Graham Local back in 2005. Looking at the results from the other three regions across the state, the top discus throw coming out of the D-II Regional ranks belonged to the kid from Tribe Town…Noah Castle.
At the D-II State Finals, Noah was cruising until the fifth throw. It was there that Trevor Detillion of Union-Scioto was able to get off a throw of 181 feet, his best throw and the only one that he had that topped Noah who had already exceeded 180 feet twice. Still, that one throw proved to be the difference as he edged out the Big Indian for the State Championship by ten inches, putting Noah into second place. With throws that high though, Noah was a qualifier for the next level…the Nationals.
“We had talked about it (the Nationals) earlier in the year,” Noah said. “Being a good thrower, you meet other good throwers and talk amongst yourselves. Nationals is really something that we wanted to do from the beginning of the year. You have to hit a qualifying mark, which I think is 170 feet. You then put an entry in, and the top 16 entries get to go. I think that I was seeded fourth or fifth going into Nationals. We trained extremely hard that week leading up.”
Being the seventh best in the United States is something that most people would be giddy over. Noah, however, is not ‘most people’. “The really disappointing thing about being seventh at Nationals,” he said, “…was throwing 200 feet in practice, and throwing a 197 in warm-ups, then coming out and only throwing a 176 in the meet.” When asked why he felt things shook out the way they did, Noah was quick to own up to it. “It goes back to me not following the plan of action. It was ‘get a big throw…get a big throw’ instead of working on the pieces that will get you up to a big throw, like keeping your left arm back or getting a bigger sweep out of the back instead of trying to whip your arm hard and throw it far. I think I missed being an All-American by one or two inches to the same guy that beat me at State by ten inches…that kinda hurt. Looking back at it with some hindsight perspective…getting seventh at Nationals as a junior isn’t too bad.”
Looking back at the 2014 campaign, Noah sees the development he has personally made, and is looking forward to building upon that development when the 2015 season rolls around. “Coach Borton and I had talked at the end of my sophomore year about what we wanted our junior year to look like,” Noah said. “I think that the goal we wanted to hit was 185, and top four in the state again. We passed the distance mark. We passed our placing at State mark, and getting seventh at Nationals. Everyone has high hopes at the beginning of the year that surpasses what we want for the year. It’s really going to be a big building block for next year.”
The plans for the 2015 campaign are already in place, according to Noah. “We’ve set more goals. We talked down in North Carolina about what we wanted my senior year to look like. Hopefully it ends with something near the State record at 203, the State Championship, and top three at Nationals. Those are the goals for next year.” To accomplish these goals, Coach Borton and Noah see the work ahead. “More work in the weight room, and a lot of technique. The biggest thing for me right now is holding my left through the center of the ring. When you get through your turn, the farther you can land with your left back, the farther you’re going to be able to throw. It offers a lot more explosion if you can keep it back, so you can really rotate your hips through all the way. I think that at Nationals, that was the biggest thing. Everything else at Nationals was perfect, but I wasn’t holding my left, which pretty much screwed everything else up.”
The 2015 track and field season is not quite a year in the offing. Right now, Noah’s primary concern is developing his skills at being a profound pain in the lane to anybody with the nerve to try to drive through the middle against him during the Tribe hoops season. There will be continued work in the weight room though, and a continued focus on technique in the discus throw. Noah went from fourth place and 169 feet in Columbus his sophomore year, to 180 feet and runner-up at State as a junior. With continued work and fine tuning, Noah Castle is well on his way to being the latest Wauseon Indian to climb to the top of the podium in Columbus, while attaining All-American status in the Nationals.
Timothy Kays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org