Formerly a sprinter, Holden Fishburn has emerged as one of the top throwers in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
The Sierra junior earned section championships in the shot put and discus throw and later qualified for the CIF State Track & Field Championships in both events. Fishburn is the Manteca Bulletin All-Area Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
He never envisioned reaching that level of success as a scrawny freshman who started out running short-distance events.
“Starting off, I thought I’d be OK this season,” Fishburn said. “I wasn’t thinking about going to any of these big meets and being able to compete. When I started really working on technique I got way better. That’s when I thought that maybe I won’t be so terrible this season, that I can actually go somewhere with this.”
The change in events turned out well for Sierra, which was in need of an ace thrower to compete with other top teams. The Timberwolves’ boys repeated as Valley Oak League co-champion after tying their dual meet with Oakdale.
“That was amazing to be a part of,” Fishburn said. “A lot of people don’t think of it as a team sport, but I felt like I let the team down because we could have been outright champions. The one time I lost in the discus was at Oakdale and we ended up tying.”
In the first meet of the year, the Tom Moore Relays hosted by Sierra, Fishburn took first in the shot put and second in the discus but with modest marks — 42 feet, 5 inches and 117-8, respectively. Those numbers went up considerably in the following months.
He introduced himself as a contender in the section at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, where he set a personal record of 50-11½ in the shot — good for second place. Fishburn then took first in the VOL Championships and second in the discus.
Of the two events, Fishburn favors the shot put. By the end of the season he was at his best in the discus ring.
Following league, he won the SJS Division III discus title with a PR of 147-9 — a stunner with Oakdale’s Ben Chappell coming in as the favorite. The next day, Fishburn added a first-place medal in the shot put, finishing a half inch from his best mark.
Fishburn continued to add distance in the discus. He placed third in both during the SJS Masters Championships — the top three in each event earn automatic berths to state. His discus PR improved to 151-8, which he got on the final attempt of the preliminaries.
“The first two throws scratched and did not go far at all,” Fishburn said. “I thought that was the last time I was throwing the discus this year, then I PR by 5 feet. It was just insane.”
He didn’t make it out of the first day in the state meet but enjoyed the experience. Fishburn looks forward to returning to Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. There, he PR’d once again in the discus at 151-9 for 16th place while taking 22nd in the shot (49-8).
“Being able to go and compete with these superb athletes was an honor,” Fishburn said. “The setting was perfect — one of the nicest fields in one of the nicest stadiums on one of the nicest high school campuses in California. It felt like I was meant to be there.
“I’d like to go back. I’m trying to learn a lot more from coaches this summer, which is something I never thought I’d do in the offseason. I want to get as good as I can get and hopefully win state next year in both events.”
Boys track & field
Abrahim Alsaidi, Ripon, So.
Bennie Dimas, Ripon, So.
Maury Ortiz, E. Union, Fr.
Nick Stanley, Sierra, Sr.