May 1, 2018
Rest was not in Isaiah Martin’s plans.
A senior standout for the Hillsboro boys track and field team, Martin went to work in the weight room like never before. He was stronger, faster and ready to dominate his senior season like never before.
Then he hit the pause button.
“I strained my quad,” Martin said. “I didn’t run for two or three weeks. I didn’t feel good to shut it down.”
Maybe shutting it down was exactly what his body needed. After a 16-day hiatus, Martin returned to the track last Thursday and surprised himself, those around him and Missouri.
Martin threw the javelin 194 feet to win the Jefferson County Activities Association meet at Hillsboro. It’s the best javelin throw ever recorded by a high school athlete in Missouri. It came on Martin’s first day back from injury.
“Prior to that I hadn’t touched a javelin in three or four weeks,” Martin said.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Martin didn’t know what to expect after he was cleared to compete by his doctor. The defending Class 4 champion in the 300 hurdles and a dynamite competitor in the 110s and long jump, the javelin was Martin’s first event of his return. It began better than he could have imagined.
Martin’s personal best throw prior to Thursday was 179-9, which he set in his first meet this spring. He blew past that with his pair of preliminary throws that went 187 and 184 feet, respectively.
Martin threw so well that Hillsboro’s baseball team paused its practice to come watch him throw in the finals. They didn’t have to wait long.
Martin uncorked his state record throw on his first attempt of the final round. When the javelin finally came to rest and the measurement read aloud the crowd went wild.
“Everybody was going insane,” he said. “It was amazing. I lost it.”
According to Milesplit.com, Martin is the first high school athlete in Missouri to throw a javelin further than 190 feet. The longest throw in the state prior to Martin was by Pattonville senior Derrick Boyce who went 188-3 at the Timberland Thrower’s Open on April 19.
And while Martin has thrown the javelin further than any other high school athlete in Missouri, he still does not have the record in the state record book. The Missouri State High School Activities Association only recognizes state records that are set at the state meet. That means Blue Springs’ Dylan Cowling, the Class 5 champion, holds the official state mark at 188-2, which he set at last year’s state meet, the first in which javelin was a scored event.
The reigning Class 4 champion and a Purdue University signee, Martin got a late start in the javelin. He didn’t begin exploring the event until the summer between his sophomore and junior seasons. A summer track standout, Martin’s size, strength and speed are ideal to become a decathlete. It was only in his move towards the decathlon that he picked up the javelin.
Martin said he’d always been able to sling a football or baseball pretty far. But this was tougher.
“The mechanics of a javelin are different than throwing a ball,” Martin said. “I had to break that natural throwing motion.”
He’s proven a quick study. Martin’s first attempt to throw a javelin in competition came at the Great Southwest Classic in June of 2016 when he took fifth in the competition with a throw of 135-10. Less than two years later, he’s added nearly 60 feet while maintaining his status as an elite hurdler.
Martin won the 300 hurdle title and was the runner up in the 110s in Class 4 last season. Because of his quad injury, Martin hasn’t run his normal share of races this spring. As the weather has turned warm and Martin is cleared to compete he expects to resume his place among the top hurdlers in the state.
Hillsboro will compete in the Class 4 District 1 meet at Hillsboro on Saturday, May 12. Athletes can compete in four events at a meet. Martin will throw the javelin, run in the 110s and 300s and more than likely long jump.
Losing a chunk of his senior season has only intensified Martin’s focus. He traveled with his teammates to the KU Relays two weeks ago. Sitting and watching only made him miss it more.
“That just lit a fire under me,” Martin said.
Martin’s fire burns hot. He’s held the state record for less than a week and he’s already dreaming up what’s possible the next time he throws. Martin will never be accused of setting the bar low.
“I want to throw 60 meters (200 feet),” Martin said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and focus on the track season.”