The DOMinator DOMinates, sDOMps the DOMpetition

They say records are made to be broken. In the case of senior Dom Howard, school records were made to be annihilated. On April 13, Howard bested Michael Miller’s 2001 school record in the discus throw by a staggering 14.5 feet with a 192-foot, eleven-inch toss, which won the competition by an inch shy of 39 feet. Howard has also taken up the shot put this season, and he has won every outdoor competition in the event with the exception of the Drake Relays. But who is this man of intrigue? How did "the Dom-inator" come to be? The answer lies in seasons of struggle which have culminated in a season of immense success. After breaking the school discus record in practice as a sophomore, Howard’s potential was well known but coming up short in meets became a staple. After failing to qualify for state at the end of that year, Howard managed fifth in 4A as a junior the next year, qualifying out of the district on his last attempt. Yet less than a year later, the possibility of a double state championship in the shot and disc is real for the senior. Howard cited mental adjustments as the precipitates of the notable turnaround. "I’m more relaxed, and I’m definitely more focused," he said. "Right now, I’m just taking it one meet at a time." At the Drake Relays, Howard’s resilience was tested when he finished a disappointing fourth (the third 4A placer.) But this time was not one of disappointment. His third-place finish in the shot put was more than it may show. He defeated the nearest 4A finisher by over two feet and was just 2.75 inches out of second. (Interestingly, he was also close to third in the discus, coming up an inch short of a tie.) "I didn’t expect to do as poorly as I did," Howard said, "but after the discus, my first thought was, ‘I don’t care.’ Instead of a pre-meet or anything for the shot put, I went home and played video games. I took the pressure off. Everyone else [in the next day’s shot put] had probably been throwing for four years, and this was my first." A poor showing in the discus wasn’t the only adversity Howard faced. The weather was cold and rainy, a new experience for the DOMinator. "It was the first time I’d thrown in the rain, but it didn’t affect me. I just let myself throw it out there, and it was nice without that pressure." This season, Howard has demonstrated a maturity invaluable to a young track squad. With two regular season meets remaining, the team looks to capitalize on the boost from the senior. They are next in action today in Waterloo at the old Big Eight conference meet.