Some bad weather - and two poor throws - rained on Derrick Vicars' parade May 21-23 in San Angelo, Texas.
Vicars, a 2008 graduate of Genoa High School, qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships in the discus for the University of Findlay.
Vicars was one of 11 UF men and women competing at the event, and he was one of only three freshmen competing in the discus.
"It was in the 80s all week and it rained on the Saturday I threw," Vicars said. "We had a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay before I threw. It affected everybody. All the throws were down. I just didn't perform well. If I would have made one decent throw, I would have made the final."
Vicars, an All-Ohio running back at Genoa in 2007, placed 14th out of 16 throwers at the national championships. His first attempt measured 148 feet, 7 inches and he fouled on his two other attempts.
Sophomore Nick Jones of Abilene Christian won the event with a throw of 182-1.
"My first throw was only 148 because it came out of my hand too early," Vicars said. "On the next two, I was trying a little too hard. I was pressing too much and trying to get a good throw. It just didn't happen. I was a little too pumped up. You have to be nice and relaxed when you throw the discus."
Vicars threw 166-9 to qualify for national championships. His father, Genoa football coach Mike Vicars, flew to Texas to watch Derrick compete.
"It was a really great event to see," Derrick said. "It was Division II, but all the people were outstanding performers and the best I've ever been around. Even in the running events, I've never seen anything like that before. It was incredible."
Vicars took third place in the discus at the Ohio state track and field meet his senior year at Genoa. His top throw as a prep discus thrower was 179-9. At the collegiate level, Vicars said the discus is slightly heavier and has a larger diameter.
The 6-1 Vicars weighed 195 pounds during track season in high school, but he has bulked up to 213 at Findlay, where he is majoring in education.
"In high school I played three sports," Vicars said. "I didn't have as much time to lift weights. I've been lifting a lot more and putting on weight. I really only lifted in spring and summer in high school. Lifting has really helped me put on weight. It helped me adjust better to a heavier implement."
Vicars said his experience in Texas has motivated him to return to nationals next year and do better.
"I've already been throwing almost every day this summer," he said. "It's definitely motivated me. I have a chance to make nationals four years in a row. I wanted to be a four-time All-American and now I don't have that opportunity. I knew I had the ability, I just didn't quite do it. I have three more years; hopefully I can make it back."
Vicars was back in Ohio in time to see his younger brother, Genoa senior Marcus Vicars, compete in the shot put at the Division II state track meet in Columbus. Marcus, who will compete at Kent State University next year, took fourth with a throw of 58-11.5.
"He did well," Derrick said. "The competition was pretty high. He would have done better if he didn't get hurt (pulled hip flexor) earlier in the season, but he did well."