The entire Collier family rallied to help FPC Bulldog Michael Peppin become the discus state champion.
The night before his final high school meet — the 4A Track and Field State Championships — Michael Peppin’s throwing coach Steve Collier’s wife, Stacia, sent Peppin an encouraging video of his biggest fan, her son, Cooper.
In the video, Cooper talked with his mom saying, “Mom, I want to see Mike throw tomorrow. He’s gonna throw far, right? I want him to win again.”
Peppin had won the pre-state, district and regional championships, but even he knew the state title would be a challenge. Peppin was projected to finish third. Nevertheless, after watching Cooper’s video, he didn’t want to let his biggest fan down.
With the final round of throws to go, Peppin stepped up and shattered his own school and personal record with a 166 foot 6 inch (50.75 meters) final throw, which placed him in the lead. He, along with all of the Bulldogs’ supporters waited anxiously for the other six discus throwers including Hunter Hummel —the favorite — to complete their final attempts.
After each of the first five finished, the championship went down to Hummel’s final throw, and all eyes were
“His final throw was a culmination of what we’ve been working on for the last three years.”
STEVE COLLIER, FPC throwing coach
“It was very intense,” said David Halliday, FPC’s head track and field coach. “When the favorite stepped into the circle, we just held our breath, and he tossed a big one out there.”
Halliday said Hummel’s throw seemed like it took an eternity to fall. But, when the official yelled out 49 meters, all of the Bulldogs and screamed in excitement. Peppin dropped to his knees with tear-filled eyes and was embraced by his coaches and peers.
“I'm just really happy I won it for Coach Collier,” Peppin said, “because he puts in a lot of work with me that people don't get to see. I had never thrown that far in a meet or at practice; it was all by the grace of God and Coach that I did it.”
After placing eighth last year at state, Peppin told Halliday he would win the title, but Halliday responded by telling him it would take a lot of hard work, but he could achieve that goal if he was relentless in his pursuit.
With Collier by his side, Peppin worked daily to better himself, placing first in the discus throw in seven of his 12 meets this past season.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of him,” Collier said. “His final throw was a culmination of what we’ve been working on for the last three years. There was a perfect smile on face to see him be able to break that 50-meter barrier.”
After waking up from his nap, Stacia told Cooper that Peppin had won, and he responded, "He did it? Yay!" And he also jumped up and down.