The rain had just started to fall — a shower that came attached with lightning that would quickly delay the WIAA state track and field meet for nearly two hours —and Jack Flynn's toss was in the air.
Kettle Moraine discus thrower Julio Perez said he knew it had the distance. But it didn't have enough.
Flynn's final toss, a heave of 171 feet, 8 inches, landed the Appleton West senior in second place in the Division 1 field. Perez, however, had set a new personal best by 7 feet with his toss of 172-3 earlier in the day, a distance that gave Perez a state championship.
The Kettle Moraine thrower, who was seeded eighth going into the meet and had to battle defending state champion Cole Van Lanen of Bay Port, earned the first boys discus title in school history and second title in the throws.
'My heart was just racing during that (last throw),' Perez said of Flynn. 'He's a great thrower, and it was up there, and I just didn't know how close it was coming. My nerves were up there, but then I saw the 171 (on the video board), and I was just so excited.'
Van Lanen settled for third with 167-7.
'Going into it ... I was pretty nervous, because there's Cole Van Lanen, the defending state champion, and some other really, really good guys,' Perez said. 'I knew I had to stay relaxed in order to make a big first throw. I took deep breaths, relaxed myself, and I knew I had to let it rip in order to place.'
Perez, whose previous personal best was 165 feet, said his early throws are typically his best.
'I knew if I could just relax on my first turn, I could go nice and slow and attack the middle (of the field) and get a good throw,' he said.
Oddly enough, Perez saved his best throw for last in the shot put one day earlier for last, tossing 57-11 to take fourth place, while teammate Dan Graf took fifth at 57-10 3/4.
'I knew that I really wanted to get on the podium for disc,' Perez said. 'Last year didn't go the way I wanted it to; I got 12th. I was in my own head, so I knew I had to have a clear mind this time.'
KM's Jared Hassin won the shot put in 2008, the last time a Lasers thrower claimed gold.
The Lasers finished the meet with a sensational showing in field events overall. In fact, it was so good that the Lasers entered the final event of the meet with a real chance to win the team title, tied for second with Brookfield East and 2 points behind a team that did not have an entrant in the 4x400-meter relay. The Lasers finished seventh in that event, tying for second, while East won the relay and took the team title.
Jared Jones found himself in a two-man battle for first place in the pole vault and ultimately took second at 15-0. Top seed Rashid Coulibaly had a little extra to clear 15-3 and win first place.
TJ Lui also saved his best for last in the triple jump and recorded 45-023/4 to take third place.
'We crushed it today,' Lui said. 'Julio (Perez) and Dan (Graf, getting) fourth and fifth in shot. Jared getting second in pole vault. We had a crazy good day today in events, and I couldn't be happier for my team.'
On the track, Ben Psichhulis also delivered a third-place finish in the 400, crossing in 48.36.
'I came out of the block stronger than I usually do,' Psicihulis said. 'That's normally been a weakness in my race. I got around the 200 mark, that's when first and second (guys) passed me, and I just wanted to keep up with them and run a good race.
'I'm extremely excited. That capped off the season as a win for me.'
Psicihulis also ran in the 4x400, joining Jack Chard, Conner Lilly and Isaac Scott. The team ran 3:20.88 but couldn't keep up with East, which ran a state-record 3:15.87 to take its fourth team title in six years.
Spencer Scherwinski was racing in the 3,200 when the meet was halted because of lightning. He ultimately took 26th.
On the girls side, Brea Perron took fifth in the shot put, throwing her best on her final throw at 40-10 1/2. She also took 11th in the discus.
Erin Zajc clipped a hurdle and fell but still rallied to take eighth place in the finals of the 100 hurdles.