Up into the stratosphere
Tim Tatton has graduated, and his future plans have started falling into place.
Tatton, McMinnville’s record-setting thrower, will attend Clackamas Community College in the fall and compete in the discus throw – his premier event – the shot put, the javelin throw and the hammer throw. He is currently participating in summer track meets to hone his skills (especially in the hammer, which is not a high school event in Oregon) and maintain his conditioning.
“I’m in excellent shape,” Tatton says. “A lot of my friends are doing (summer track) too, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Tatton’s idea is to spend a year – two, if necessary – with the Cougars before transferring to a four-year school, ideally in Division I. He would become the first member of his family to attend a four-year university if he advances to that step.
“(My parents) are prepared to be paying for college,” he says with a chuckle. “They know I love throwing so much.”
At the Division I level, track and field teams have 12.6 scholarships to award to male athletes. It can be a cutthroat business. Should Tatton receive one, it would be further validation of the work ethic for which the News-Register All-Valley Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year has demonstrated throughout a decorated high school career.
Tatton leaves Mac High as the school record holder in the discus throw (173 feet, 1 inch) and the javelin throw (200 feet even). His personal record in the shot put of 52 feet, 6.5 inches, set on May 7, is second only to Byron Toliver’s 59-foot, 1.25-inch mark in 1976).
At the Class 6A State Track and Field Championships on May 23-24, Tatton took second place in the discus throw with a mark of 163-1 on his second attempt. (Drake Bennett of Grants Pass won with a throw of 185-3). He added a fifth-place finish in the javelin throw with a mark of 179-10.
Tatton’s state meet wasn’t perfect – he fouled on all three attempts in the shot put and failed to score – but he contributed to the 14th-place finish for the McMinnville boys track and field team.
“I feel a lot better about state,” Tatton says. “Coming out of last year was horrible. This year, I performed a lot better. I’m way happier.”
The 2013 state championships weigh on Tatton, even after the success he had at the 2014 state championships. Tatton scored all of one team point, with an eighth-place finish in the javelin. He finished ninth in the discus throw and 10th in the shot put.
Knee injuries hampered him later in the 2013 season, so he underwent physical therapy and lost 20 pounds to alleviate additional pressure. Tatton also conducted himself as if every Pacific Conference dual meet was a state championship.
“In warm-ups and everything, we would just do everything the exact same way the state warm-ups do, where you get four throws to warm up,” he says. “So that was what we would do, in other track meet warm-ups. Just focusing on it, getting used to it. I’d take four throws, two standing and two rotational.”
So once Tatton stepped onto Hayward Field, on the University of Oregon campus, he had his routine down pat. The size and scale of the event did not concern him.
“It’s easy for me now. It was a little nerve-wracking the first couple times,” he says of Hayward Field. “It’s just crowded and packed and everyone’s cheering and getting into any event that they see. It’s just a great atmosphere to throw in; you can’t beat it.”
Six McMinnville throwers, including Tatton, qualified for the state championships in 2014. Under assistant coach Corey Medeiros and discipline coaches Garry Angus and Chris Logsdon, the Grizzlies have attained momentum as a program that Tatton figures will continue well after he sets foot in Clackamas.
“They’re still going to be pretty dominant in the conference that we’re going to next year, because they don’t have a lot of great throwers,” Tatton says. “Luke (Mannix) is stepping it up. Noah (Daugherty) will be good returning in the javelin.
“A ton of good throwers have gone through our high school. Just to be a part of (that), to be one of those elite throwers, is great.”