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Move to Tigard gives Pat Vialva opportunity to embrace his ‘first big love’ — throwing the javelin

And with his 6A state championship, Vialva helped the Tigers make history, becoming the third school to sweep the throws titles at the big-school state meet.

By René Ferrán 

Living in Long Beach, Calif., and attending football powerhouse Polytechnic did not allow Pat Vialva many opportunities to indulge in his true athletic passion. 

California does not contest the javelin as part of its high school competitions, leaving Vialva to throw at the occasional meet during the summer.

When his father’s job as a bread salesman with Franz Bakery brought him back to the Portland area, one of the selling points of moving to Tigard was a chance to work with throws coach Bruce Flaker.

“That was really a big part of it,” Vialva said. “I’ve always loved javelin. It’s my first big love.”

Pat Vialva (right) with Tigard teammate Karson Boschma

Pat Vialva (right) with Tigard teammate Karson Boschma

With teammate Elijah Jackman having won the Class 6A boys shot and discus titles Friday at the OSAA track and field championships, that put the pressure on Vialva to accomplish something that had been done only twice in the 94-year history of the meet — having one school sweep the throws titles. 

If Vialva could win the javelin Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, the Tigers duo would join elite company. Only Olympians Brian Crouser for Gresham in 1980 and his nephew, Sam, in 2010 had kept the titles at one school.

Jackman wasn’t shy about predicting Vialva would pull out victory, but if that put any added pressure on Vialva, he didn’t show it.

He took the lead on his first throw of the competition, going 190 feet, 3 inches. On his next throw, he threw a personal-best 203-7 — the first time in his career he’d surpassed 200 feet. It moved him to No. 29 on the all-time state list.

The rest of his series wasn’t too shabby, with another 200-footer and a 196-footer among his six throws, and Vialva had indeed given Tigard the sweep. 

“After that first throw, I was like, Gung ho! Let’s see how it goes,” Vialva said. 

Best photos from Day 2 of 6A, 5A, 4A Oregon high school track and field state championships