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Trabuco Hills' Peare Grows Into Success Story


MISSION VIEJO — How to become the state's top discus thrower, the Chad Peare way:

Give in to a relentless sales pitch by Trabuco Hills track and field Coach Jack Recla. Chuck baseball in favor of track as a sophomore. Put some meat on that scrawny, 150-pound frame with an eat-to-win diet and a disciplined weightlifting routine. Become one of the state's best as a junior. Catch a big break when your throw conks an official on the leg at the Arcadia Invitational this year, giving you a do-over. Launch a fluttering duck, a personal-best 191 feet 11 inches.

That's it.

That's how Peare has emerged as the state's leading discus thrower this year.

Be forewarned, any attempts to duplicate this are subject to failure and disappointment. In other words, Peare's rise to the top has been unique.

But rest assured, he's at the top. Peare is the leading discus thrower by more than 10 feet heading into the State meet at 3 p.m. today at Cerritos College.

Realistically, the only challenge figures to come from Upland's Tyson Ligenfelter, who has the state's second-best throw at 181-6. No one else is close to those two.

"I want a PR (personal-record)," Peare said. "If I PR and take second to Ligenfelter, then I accomplished something. A PR is what I'm really looking for."

Truth is, if he tops his best of 191-11, he'll probably win.

And there's no reason to think it won't happen. He's feeling better than at any time since the Arcadia meet in April, the competition isn't exactly fierce and then there's plain old dumb luck.

Luck helped explain Arcadia.

Warming up, he felt lethargic but was still throwing in the 175- to 180-foot range. Someone said, "Speed up in the ring." So he did.

"It was like another world," Peare said.

Then he hit the official.

"This going to sound bad, but thank God she was there," Peare said. "She was thinking she could outrun it."

Given another throw, Peare came up with his 191-11 toss. It was far from a perfect throw, however.

"It was sideways and floppy," he said.

But that's the way things have gone for Peare, who will compete for Kentucky next season. A little luck and a lot of perseverance have carried him past a pack of also-rans.

As a freshman, he was a 150-pound third baseman on the Mustang baseball team, determined to make his mark on the diamond and avoid track and field at all cost. Recla finally cornered Peare after a 1991 baseball practice.

Recla handed Peare a shotput and said, "Here, throw this."

The shot sailed a fair distance and Recla had a new weight events man.

"I was sick of baseball and decided to give it a try," Peare said. "I like it, so here I am. I took a liking to it because it's an individual sport and I'm an individualist.

"I get frustrated by it and say I hate it. But I really like it."

At first, Peare was a better shotputter. "I hated the discus, but I started making gains," he said. "I view myself now as a better discus thrower than shotputter."

As a junior, he finished second at the Southern Section Division III finals, won the Masters meet and finished sixth at the State meet. His best last year was 176-0, tops in Orange County.

Bulking up seemed to help Peare's advancement most of all.

"That was a sight to see me at 150 pounds," he said. "I look at pictures and it's, 'Oh, my God.' "

As Peare grew, so did his confidence. Still, he admits he gets nervous before big meets. If he didn't, he'd worry that he wasn't interested.

"I try to forget about it until I get to the meet," he said. "Otherwise, I'd start stressing out."

And that's not part of Peare's winning program.

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