CLOVIS — Going against some of the top athletes in the state, senior shot putter Joe Daou proved to be his own worst enemy.
One week after taking first at the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Masters Meet — and breaking his own Santa Monica High School record in the process — Daou failed to record a single mark in the finals of the CIF State Championships on Saturday, fouling on each of his first three throws and thus disqualifying himself from further competition.
“I couldn’t keep a throw to save my life,” Daou said. “Everything went down the drain.”
This came after Daou finished with a throw of 57’ 10 1/2” in Friday’s preliminaries — well off his personal-best of 61’ 7” but still good enough for fifth among qualifiers for the finals at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
“He had a good night,” Samohi track and field head coach Pat Cady said. “Everything was fine. He seemed calm and rested.”
Unfortunately for Daou and his state title hopes, he didn’t show it Saturday. The main culprit behind the fouls was a failure to properly follow through on his throws, Cady said.
“The only thing that seemed to be wrong was he would look up to see how he’d done. That would cause him to lose his balance,” Cady said.
Samohi shot put coach Greg Bernard was surprised by the performance.
“It was very uncharacteristic for him,” Bernard said. “He might’ve done it last year, but this year he’s never fouled out of a meet.”
Despite going just “50 percent” on his third throw, Daou was unable to stay in the shot-put ring. Competition rules require that a shot putter post at least one legal throw on the first three attempts in order to secure three more attempts.
“I tried to stay in, and I just couldn’t. I just slipped out,” Daou said.
Frontier’s Matt Darr finished first in the event with a throw of 63’ 9 3/4”.
For Daou, it was a frustrating end to a year in which he placed first in multiple meets, setting Samohi records in both the shot put and discus throw along the way.
Still, Bernard remained positive Daou would learn from the experience.
“He’s going to remember this feeling and not let it happen again,” Bernard said. “He’s a very good athlete. He’s going to take this experience and keep building.”