Motivated by family rivalry and detractors in the crowd, Jonah Wilson knew he was about to launch a big discus throw during the Battle of the Central Cal track and field meet.
The Clovis High senior had no idea, however, the throw would travel farther than all but those of four previous competitors in national high school history.
Wilson eclipsed the 200-foot barrier for the second time this month, unleashing Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium a California high school record throw of 221 feet, 5 inches. Only four other competitors in national history have thrown farther.
“Right as it left my hands, I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” Wilson said. “I knew that was the throw. I got every inch of power through my fingers onto the discus, and it just went.”
Never miss a local story.
Before his record-breaking throw, Wilson watched his cousin, Buchanan’s Jacob Wilson, stir on a large group of Bears fans in the crown before fouling on an attempt that traveled 203 feet, which would have been roughly 2 feet more than his previous career best had it counted.
“All the Buchanan people were against me and I got mad,” Jonah Wilson said. “I pointed to my dad (Clovis throws coach Todd Wilson). I yelled at him and said ‘watch this,’ and I just ripped it.”
Wilson’s mark surpassed the former California record of 213-11 set in 1997 by Scott Moser of Huntington Beach. It’s more than 15 feet longer than this season’s previous state-leading 206-1 tossed by Oak Park’s Robbie Otal on April 5.
Only Oregon’s Ryan Crouser (best throw of 237-6 in 2011), Colorado’s Mason Finley (236-6 in 2009), Utah’s Niklas Arrhenius (234-3 in 2001) and Nevada’s Kamy Keshmiri (225-2 in 1987) have longer discus throws in national prep history.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Wilson, who also won the shot put at the Battle of Central Cal with a toss of 62-11. “When I saw the throw, I nearly came to tears because everything I’ve worked for came through in that moment.
“It means so much to me. It really shows if you put your head to something and work nonstop until you get it, it will work.”
Wilson started throwing in the third grade under the tutelage of his father, a former University of Washington standout who made the Olympic Trials in 1994.
Wilson placed sixth in the discus at the CIF State Championships last year and spent the off-season adding muscle, going from 180 pounds as a junior to 230 as a senior.
Wilson passed the 200-foot mark for the first time April 8 at the Arcadia Invitational with a throw of 201-0.
“He did well in Arcadia, and I knew there was a bigger throw on the horizon by his practices,” Todd Wilson said. “But I didn’t know he’d hit something this big. To throw 221 is crazy. I’m still just beside myself with that. So few high school throws have surpassed 220, and he’s one of those. It’s hard to believe it happened. It’s amazing.”
Wilson also ranks second in the state this season in the shot put with a top mark of 64-3 set April 8. He trails only his cousin Jacob’s mark of 66-1 set Feb. 24.
Wilson will turn his attention next to the Tri-River Athletic Conference Championships on May 4 at Central. Following that is the North Area meet May 10 at Clovis and the Central Section Masters on May 20 at Buchanan’ Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The CIF State Championships are set for June 2-3 at the Vet.
“I don’t think I’m going to change anything,” said Wilson, who has followed in his father’s footsteps by signing with Washington. “I’m going to keep throwing, keep lifting and just do anything I can in my power to stay on top.”