Probst goes from alternate to sections discus champion

Now on to the Masters
By: Kurt Voigt News Messenger Correspondent
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Matt Probst, a senior at Lincoln High School, took on a monumental task this season by competing in four track and field events. Probst ran in the 4x100-meter relay, he competed in the long jump and also throws the shot put and discus. He began competing in track his sophomore year with the Fighting Zebras and enjoyed it enough to continue through his senior year. Probst said he enjoys the sport and competes for different reasons than most. ?I don?t go out to be competitive, just to have fun,? Probst said of his motivation. ?If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose.? At the Pioneer Valley League Finals, Probst did not qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet in any event, including the discus (1.6 kilogram). In spite of being the league leader in the discus this season he finished sixth at the PVL Meet. However, as second alternate he was invited to sections when two discus throwers pulled out of the competition. That was all the opening Probst needed to show what he could do. ?Matt will be going to Masters,? said Lincoln track and field coach Eric Williams. ?Matt Probst won the discus throw with a throw of 152 (feet) 2 (inches). He is the section champion for Division III.? The senior?s effort was not only the best of Division III, but his throw was better than anyone in Division II as well. With that, Probst now moves on to the Masters in that event to be held at Elk Grove High School May 24-25. Track and field is demanding. Athletes must push themselves to the limits of their capabilities to continue to improve their times or distances in order to compete with other athletes. Training, diet, strength, and overall cardiovascular conditioning are what separate track athletes from other sports. Like wrestling, track and field is a more individual sport, which pits athletes in their respective events based on distance of a run, jump or vault or an object thrown. It dates back to Ancient Greece and the advent of the Olympic Games when it was man vs. man, strength vs. strength, and pure, unadulterated competition. Probst started off in track when he was quite young and gravitated toward throwing the shot put and discus. Also a runner, he likes the 4x100 relay and loves the baton hand-off part of the race. ?You really have to perfect the hand-off of the baton. That can be the difference in winning or losing the race,? Probst said.? That?s what we practice ? perfection.? His top throw of the 12-pound shot this season was 48-10 ½, which would have qualified him for sections but he came up short of that mark at the PVL meet and finished 10th. His best long jump was 19-8, which put him in the top 20 percent in league. However, he failed to mark at the league finals. However, discus was his main focus and now he has a renewed chance of proving himself. He wants to break the 160-foot barrier and beat the school record. ?My mindset is that I do it for fun, not the competition,? Probst said, ?and that is less pressure on me.? Using that thought process helps Probst enjoy the competition more and keeps him loose before an event. The competition has helped him get better, stronger and faster but keeping it fun has helped him succeed and reach the Masters. Note: At the Division III meet, Lincoln?s 4x400 relay team set a new freshman/sophomore record of 3 minutes, 40.67 seconds to break the old record set in 1977. The team was made up of sophomores Leo Calderon, Zachary Evans, Miguel Franco and Liam Hao.