Prep track and field: Poca sophomore follows in family’s footsteps
WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Throwing discus and shot put runs through the Buckley family almost like tradition. Now, it appears the youngest member to pick up the torch is the strongest yet in Poca sophomore Christian Buckley.
In the footsteps of his father Dana Buckley and older brother Quentin Buckley, a senior, Christian Buckley continues the line of succession, with heavy emphasis on success. Christian leads Class AA in both shot put and discus, and not by fractions, but feet, as he sets personal record (PR) after personal record.
"He's PRing every meet we go to in both events," Poca Coach John Bonecutter said of Christian. "I don't even think it's been real close yet."
Entering last week's track and field events, Christian maintained a three-foot lead on his closest competitor in the shot put, with his best throw 49 feet, 11 inches, according to www.runwv.com. In the discus, Christian led by nine feet.
The next closest was Quentin, his brother.
Christian and Quentin placed one-two in the discus at Friday's Winfield Classic, with Christian taking first on a new personal record throw of 162 feet, eight and one-half inches.
While Christian certainly contributes plenty of hard work toward his own success, the younger Buckley gave credit to his big brother for introducing him to disc and shot.
"He's the reason I got into this sport," Christian said. "I probably wouldn't have even gotten into it if he didn't start in middle school, so it feels great to have somebody there and we pull each other up. We both work out together, lift weights. It's a great feeling."
Quentin said he's enjoyed sharing the sport with his brother and watching Christian's progress.
"He was throwing in the third grade, throwing them back to me when I was sixth, practicing for the middle school," Quentin said. "It's been great watching him grow up to meet me in the discus and later pass me by quite a bit. I've loved it. It's great.
"We've gone to the youth Olympics, me once and him twice. He's gone All-American in both events, I believe, twice. It's just been incredible watching him develop like this."
Both Buckley brothers owe thanks to their father, though, who passed the sport onto them.
"He was a track athlete, shot and disc in high school and college and then went on to coach," Quentin said. "He coaches the middle school right now. He started us out real early, kind of as a safer alternative to football or one of the other more contact sports, but with this sport you control your own destiny.
"It's something we've always had that's been a real bond. We've enjoyed it ever since he got us hooked on it."
For Christian, the technique, like his passion, has been in place for a while, but as he continues to get older, his increasing strength has lifted his ability to new levels, Bonecutter said.
"Last year, he was a skinny little freshman that had a lot of technique, a lot of skill, but he's put on some muscle, put on some weight, and he's really started to take off with his throws now," he said.
As a freshman, Christian placed third at the state meet in discus and fourth in shot. Quentin took fifth in discus and 14th in shot.
Christian's newfound strength has allowed him to throw with greater ease where other competitors struggle.
"I always joke and tell people watching him throw a 12-pound shot put, most people are screaming and grunting and he throws like he's made of rubber," Quentin said. "He's so relaxed and quick on his feet. He just has that little combination of all he needs. He's just strong enough, just fast enough and nothing overbears it."
The future's bright for Christian, who will continue to carry the torch in the Buckley family tradition. Before Quentin caps his career, though, the Buckley brothers hope to finish together in a blaze of glory, one-two at this year's state meet.
"We would love that," Quentin said. "We've always been the Buckley brothers. I was never Quentin. He was never Christian. It was always the two of us going through. It didn't matter which one of us won a meet as long as we both did our best and often we're getting one and two and now Poca's getting one, two and three at a whole lot of meets, so we couldn't be happier."