Kevin Fairchild is on an isolated field far from Phoenix Desert Vista’s track, only his coach around as he launches a spear into the air.
It sticks into the ground a good 150 feet downfield.
He retrieves it and launches it again.
Over and over.
That is his daily routine. Away from the rest of his teammates, who are on the track, running sprints, springing into pads or into sand on jumps, leaping over hurdles.
To become the first Arizona Interscholastic Association state champion in the javelin.
All across the state, history is being made in the javelin, a track and field event once considered taboo, too dangerous to be monitored appropriately without enough qualified coaches to teach it and vacant fields on which to throw it, a liability fear.
But after a couple of years experimenting with the event, it is now sanctioned by the AIA, making Arizona the 18th state to have it at the high school level.
“All it’s going to do is help give opportunities to Arizona kids,” Desert Vista coach Chris Hanson said. “New Mexico has been doing it. There has been a lot of states doing it.
“If a kid ever wants to be in the decathlon, he has to know the javelin. This is an opportunity in terms of making us held accountable to create safe places to do it. Some schools aren’t there yet. That’s OK. We didn’t want to wait. We think it’s great.”
Desert Vista is even incorporating the javelin into dual meets with it being thrown from the track’s infield rubberized apron.
“A few years ago, we used to throw the discus in the infield,” Hanson said. “But, with safety, they say, ‘No, you can’t do that anymore.’ Guess what? We’re throwing the javelin in the infield.
“People in the stands are going, ‘What’s that?’ Even though it is an infant in the state, it’s getting quick exposure, which is great.”
Fairchild is among a handful of Arizona high school athletes who throw the javelin who are among the best in the nation.