Standing 6-foot-5 and a chiseled 215 pounds, Noah Maness looks the part of one of the state’s premier discus throwers.
On Friday, the Indian Creek senior gets the opportunity to prove he is.
By virtue of his second-place performance at last week’s Warren Central Regional, Maness is one of 27 throwers qualified for the state meet at Indiana University.
Seeded sixth based on his top regional toss of 165-4, Maness looks forward to matching his skills against athletes representing high school track programs from as far away as Goshen and Evansville Memorial.
He missed the cut last year after finishing sixth at the Franklin Regional with a best throw of 139-11.
Maness credits two factors for his improvement this season.
Last summer, he attended a one-day throws camp in Merrillville that greatly enhanced his knowledge of steps and proper weight distribution during throws of the discus.
Secondly, after also taking part in shot put competitions the past three seasons, Maness focused solely on the discus this spring.
“I’ve done shot put in the past, but I didn’t really excel in it,” he said. “This year it was nicer because I didn’t have to worry about another event.”
Maness, a 4.0 student ranked 21st academically in Indian Creek’s senior class, graduated with nine varsity letters in athletics — four in both football and track, another in basketball. He will attend Indiana University and major in environmental and sustainability studies.
Maness is contemplating attempting to walk on to the Hoosiers’ men’s track and field team as a freshman.
Steve Fleener, Indian Creek’s second-year track coach who previously led programs at Perry Meridian and Silver Creek, believes Maness could just be starting to scratch the surface as a discus thrower.
“Noah is built like a discus thrower, tall with long arms,” Fleener said.
“If he can place in the top five or six at state, that would be great.”
To demonstrate how far Maness has come as a discus thrower, consider that as a freshman he placed 16th at the Columbus North Sectional. His best throw was 112 feet, 4 inches.
By his sophomore season, Maness jumped to seventh place at sectional (128-6), and there has been consistent improvement ever since.
About to step onto his sport’s ultimate platform for the first and only time, Maness is understandably excited.
“My major goal coming into this season was to get to state,” he said. “Being seeded sixth, I’m going to try to get a higher place and possibly top three.”
What: IHSAA Boys State Track and Field Finals
When: 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex, Indiana University in Bloomington
A glance at the local entrants and their top competition for Friday’s boys state track and field meet:
Top seed: Colton Crum, Frankfort (16 feet, 6 inches)
Local qualifiers: Jacob Ballain, Whiteland (14-3, 10th); Zach Gaertner, Whiteland (13-9, 14th)
Top seed: Logan Calvin, Bloomington North (173-1)
Local qualifiers: Ryder Emberton, Whiteland (169-1, fourth); Noah Maness, Indian Creek (165-4, sixth); Will English, Roncalli (152-0, 22nd)
Top seed: Calvin (60-5 1/2)
Local qualifiers: Emberton (57-2, fourth); Austin Deming, Center Grove (53-3 3/4, 12th)
Top seed: Carmel (7:50.24)
Local qualifier: Center Grove (8:09.59, 24th)
Top seed: Daveon Finley, Portage (14.31)
Local qualifier: Christian Goines, Center Grove (14.63, ninth)
Top seed: Craig Young, Fort Wayne Wayne (10.63)
Local qualifier: Grant Mason, Center Grove (10.78, third)
Top seed: Matthew Schindler, Evansville Reitz (4:14.79)
Local qualifier: Ethan Pine, Greenwood (4:24.24, 18th)
Top seed: Avon (41.44)
Local qualifier: Center Grove (42.63, ninth)
Top seed: Peyton DePriest, Avon (48.93)
Local qualifier: Gabe Otley, Roncalli (50.29, 16th)
Top seed: Daimon Wray, Westfield (38.64)
Local qualifier: Trevor Hohlt, Center Grove (38.87, third)
Top seed: Jacob Adams, Michigan City (1:54.60)
Local qualifier: Chandler McGaha, Franklin (1:56.10, ninth)
Top seed: Justin Becker, Fort Wayne Carroll (21.75)
Local qualifier: Mason (21.78, second)
Top seed: Bailey McIntire, South Adams (9:10.42)
Local qualifier: Nicholas Perkins, Roncalli (9:54.64)
Top seed: Avon (3:18.20)
Local qualifier: Center Grove (3:22.60, 11th)