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Overland’s Jarrius Ward breaks Class 5A state meet record in discus

Overland’s Jarrius Ward broke a Class 5A discus record to win the title during the 2024 CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, Colo., on May 16, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti /The Denver Post)

LAKEWOOD — Fans at Jeffco Stadium didn’t have to wait long for a stunning performance on the opening day of the 2024 CHSAA State Track and Field Championships.

On Thursday morning, Overland junior Jarrius Ward broke the Class 5A state meet record in the discus with a throw of 203 feet, 4 inches. This shattered the previous ranking record of 192-5 set by Todd Austin of Westminster in 1977.

In the process, Ward edged out club teammate and defending event champion Charles LaFore of Chatfield, who also broke Austin’s mark with a 193-6 draw in a valiant runner-up effort.

“I really wanted to fight back for what happened last year and finish second behind Charlie, and I came out here and had a great performance,” Ward said. “The key today was to keep my cool, to keep my cool. I didn’t aim to break the record, although I knew I probably had to throw at least 195 to beat Charlie. But once my throw was successful, I knew I had the record.

Ward, who is uncommitted but has an offer from CSU-Pueblo, will surely turn the heads of other recruiters after Thursday’s performance.

What’s next for the Overland star? He believes he has the potential to attempt the all-time Colorado and national record, set by Buena Vista’s Mason Finley in 2009.

That throw of 236 feet, 6 inches hasn’t been sniffed by a local thrower since Finley, who went on to compete in the Olympics, set the mark at the High Altitude Challenge competition in Alamosa. The closest record since the national level was 221-5 by a California pitcher in 2017.

“I came a long way last year in the discus, but I believe I can continue to expand my distance and eventually get closer to the national record,” Ward said. “My other goal is to win the shot put title as a senior.”

Overland's Jarrius Ward, left, celebrates with his mother Natasha Stuckey after breaking the discus record during the Class 5A meet at the 2024 CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, Colo. on May 16, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Overland’s Jarrius Ward, left, celebrates with his mother Natasha Stuckey after breaking the discus record during the Class 5A meet at the 2024 CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, Colo. on May 16, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Ward will also attempt to dethrone LaFore in the shot put this year, an event that will take place Saturday morning. But it will be a difficult task.

LaFore, a Kansas State commit, has a personal best of 65-4.25 in the event, a significant advantage over second-place Soren Shinofield of Cherry Creek (57-0) and Ward (55-4) .

Even with the loss to Ward on Thursday, LaFore is one of Colorado’s best pitchers in recent memory. The shot put is her best event in high school, while the hammer throw is her best overall. He will compete in both events at Kansas State. Earlier this month, LaFore broke the Jeffco League Class 5A shot put record set by Jim Banich of Arvada in 1982.

“Obviously Mason Finley is at the top of the list, and Drake Nugent from Highlands Ranch a few years ago, who won the Class 5A discus and shot and he went on to play college football at Michigan, is also there “, says Chatfield, coach Andrei. Gisetti said. “There have been a few other guys, but as far as the all-around thrower – discus, shot and hammer – you’d have to go back to Finley and Banich to see someone like that. Charles is at least in the top three.

LaFore hopes to challenge Finley’s overall state meet record Saturday — a 67-10.25 from 2009. If LaFore is on his game, he also hopes he can break the Class 5A state meet record of Banich of 66-3.25 established in 1982.

“Capturing one or both of these records would mean a lot to me,” LaFore said. “I have to qualify (for the final) and get a good score before I can really make those better throws, but that’s definitely the main goal. … If I can break Finley’s record, which is definitely doable even if it’s difficult, it would mean a lot to me because he’s one of the great American pitchers.

Chatfield's Charles Lafore broke a state record with that throw, but ended up securing second place in the 5A discus after Overland's Jarrius Ward's discus traveled 61.98 m to break the state record for 5A disc once again that morning at the 2024 state track and field championships in Jeffco.  Stadium in Lakewood, Colorado, May 16, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Chatfield’s Charles Lafore broke a state record with that throw, but ended up securing second place in the 5A discus after Overland’s Jarrius Ward’s discus traveled 61.98 m to break the state record for 5A disc once again that morning at the 2024 state track and field championships in Jeffco. Stadium in Lakewood, Colorado, May 16, 2024. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)