Monticello's Forman wins 'magical' 2A state discus championship

May 26—CHARLESTON — Demarion Forman was in a Champaign emergency room at 12:46 a.m. Saturday.

He got an infection that caused his throat to swell, and he needed medicine right away.

The process went as smoothly as it could for Forman, and he recovered quickly.

Good thing, too, because the Monticello senior was set to compete for Class 2A state discus and shot put championships in less than 10 hours at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field in Charleston.

"I made the comment, 'Well, at least you broke the record (Friday),'" Monticello throws coach Ryan Woodham said, referencing Forman's 2A state-record discus throw in prelims the day before. "He goes 'That's OK, I'm going after it again.'"

Forman didn't re-break his record of 193 feet, 11 1/2 inches in Saturday's discus final, but he did take home a state title in the event.

"Magical," Forman said of the feeling with a smirk. "Never expected it to happen, so it felt really good."

That smile was plenty bigger as soon as he was done competing.

Forman likes to keep the mood light with his competitors. He doesn't shy away from socializing and cracking jokes between throws, but as soon as he steps into that ring, he's focused on the task at hand. After earning the top seed on Friday, he got to watch all his peers throw before him. Once he saw that none of them matched his mark, he finally let out some joy.

"He enjoyed (Friday)," Woodham said. "I don't think it was lost on him what he did, but he didn't let the pressure off his shoulders until it was all said and done. When he went into the ring for the last time, he was a completely different kid. At that point, he was fully relaxed. He knew he had it, so he could just have fun."

Forman launched his farthest toss of the day to end the competition and hugged his family with an ear-to-ear grin. It was especially meaningful because he did exactly what he told all his loved ones he would do not too long before.

"It just happened," Forman said of when he developed the drive to win it. "I didn't really think too much about it until I got this far. During the season, I was just happy I was throwing and kept progressing. Eventually, I was like, 'I'm going to win this year.' I put my mind to it and told my family and coaches I was going to win, so I had to do it."

The reason he didn't have that realization sooner was because he was only competing with himself all year. Forman didn't care about where his name was in the state rankings or even if he won each meet. All he cared about was throwing the discus father every time he let it fly.

"Just because you beat somebody else, it doesn't mean you're progressing yourself," Forman said. "I could have won with a 181, but if I didn't beat myself, I wouldn't be satisfied. As long as I beat me, I'm good."

The newly crowned state champion has done a lot of improving this year. Forman came into the season chasing the Sages' discus record of 172-6. He broke that on April 8 and has now broken his own record on six separate occasions, pushing it more than 21 feet farther.

"He broke the school record that was held for 42 years, so I'm not sure I'll be alive when this record gets broken, but we're sure going to try," Woodham said. "He told me his goal was to get the record so high that it would never be broken, and I said my goal was to coach a kid who could break it. He said when he has kids, he'll bring them back to me so they can break his record. I don't know if I'll still be coaching then, but I'd sure like to watch it."

This was Woodham's first year coaching track and field throws, with his only personal experience being throwing discus his freshman year of high school. Monticello coach Cully Welter came to him in need of a throws coach, and ever since the first meet of the season, Woodham has fallen more in love with it, and Forman is a big reason for that.

The two worked together to better Forman's performance as well as Woodham's coaching. Simply put, having Forman around "made my job easier."

"I understand that it's a blessing and a curse because this isn't going to happen every year," Woodham said of Forman's title. "To have it happen in your first year kind of taints the expectations, but it's been an amazing ride, and I was lucky to be a part of it."

It was a ride that included several memories, too many for Woodham to choose a definitive favorite. Forman is "a character," as his coach put it, so there were plenty of fun moments that came to mind, "but hearing that record was pretty exciting."

As for Forman, his favorite was more clear.

"Top memory right here," Forman said after stepping off the podium with a gold medal around his neck. "Definitely at the top."