Kiperberg is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A.
When Joseph Kiperberg joined Flagler Palm Coast’s track and field team during the 2016-17 season, he was instantly attracted to discus.
“There’s no running involved, so that’s the best part,” he joked. “And you get to use all of your strength.”
Kiperberg had never done track and field before. The learning curve was steep. He was a 6-foot-4, 240-pound freshman and struggled to complete a pushup. When he first started throwing, he had difficulty getting past 20 meters.
“It was a struggle,” Kiperberg said of his freshman year. “But through the years, things have just gotten a lot easier.”
“He’s always working on his craft. He's a student of discus.”
DAVID HALLIDAY, Bulldogs track and field coach
Now, as an 18-year-old senior, Kiperberg isn’t only the top thrower on the team. He’s one of the state’s best, ranked No. 2 in all of Class 4A.
“It just took a lot of practice, being in the weight room every day and listening to my coach,” said Kiperberg, who now stands at 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds.
His primary inspiration: discus thrower Michael Peppin, who won a state title for FPC in 2017.
“He was my idol,” Kiperberg said. “I looked up to him a lot. I didn’t even know what discus was before I started, but once I saw him do it, I got more motivated to start doing it. He inspired me a lot.”
Kiperberg made the state tournament in 2018 as an at-large berth. However, he missed the tournament last season after he failed to get past districts.
“He really wanted to be there last year to help us win a state title,” FPC head coach David Halliday said. “Ever since then, that’s been the motivation for his senior year.”
Kiperberg’s 2020 season began with a bang. He threw a personal best 50.39 meters at the 16th-annual East Coast Classic on Feb. 28 at FPC High School. The school record, held by Peppin, is 50.74 meters.
“Every year he’s consistently gotten better,” said Steve Collier, who’s been the throwing coach at FPC for the past five seasons. “He’s working every day at it. He’s doing all the things that he needs to do to be able to get there.”
Kiperberg is a student of his craft. He lifts weights for about two hours almost every day after school and during the off season and also works on his flexibility. However, he spends the most time perfecting his throwing technique.
“You don’t really have to be super strong to be good at discus,” he said. “You can have great technique and out-throw most people.”
In his last semester of high school, winning a state title and breaking his former idol’s school record would mean all the world to Kiperberg.
“Not just for bragging rights,” he said. “but because it would show how much work I’ve put in over the years.”