By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Houstin Syvertson is a man of many names. To some, he’s Houstin. To those close to him, he’s Huey. To those he leaves in his path of destruction on the football field, he’s Mr. Syvertson.
Even the public address announcer called him by a different name, accidentally referring to him as Houstin Silverstein.
Now the future Mountaineer has another name.
“That sounds good. I like the ring to it,” Syvertson said.
Syvertson ran away with the Class AAA shot put championship at the WVSSAC State Track Meet on Friday, throwing 53 feet, 9 1/2 inches.
Syverton’s coaches also have their own name for him.
“We like to call him Huey,” Shady Spring track coach Craig Marshall said.
While he may have several names, the one thing everyone calls him is determined.
“Huey is just a great athlete,” Marshall said. “He’s going to WVU (for football) and he’s thrown shot for me for two years. He’s hard at work all the time. He stays in the weight room all the time. He’s been really great.”
While Syvertson’s first love will always be football, the shot put holds a special place to his heart.
“I’m going to miss it,” Syvertson said. “It’s not football, but I’m going to miss it. It’s been pretty awesome to win my senior year. I worked hard for it. I busted my butt in the weight room. It’s a great feeling.”
Syvertson brought Shady Spring its first state championship since the school jumped to Class AAA in August.
“I think that’s the coolest thing ever,” Syvertson said. “I was on my way home and my dad told me that and I got to thinking ... I guess that’s going to go down in history. I just made history.”
Syvertson was the odds-on favorite to win the championship this season. He had three tosses over 52 feet and several more over 51 feet this season, but faced stiff competition from Greenbrier East’s Tré Moore, Buckhannon-Upshur’s Isaac Johnson and Musselman’s Thomas Baroody.
“I was a little bit nervous watching them throw,” Syvertson said. “I was just trying to figure out what would happen. If they were holding off on me.”
In the end, it didn’t matter. Huey was victorious and was able to finally get over the hump of defeating his arch-rival Moore.
“It was pretty awesome (to beat him),” Syvertson said. “We’ve had some competition with each other all year. There was some nervousness to see what he pulled out. I guess I got him.”
Syvertson will move on to WVU on July 21, where he’ll play for coach Dana Holgorsen, but his high school coach, Vince Culicerto, who also serves as one of Shady’s track coaches, had some parting words for one of his most successful players.
“He told me already he’s very proud of me and I should enjoy it. He wants a picture of this moment to keep,” he said.
It’s a moment Syvertson will surely never forget.
“I love the state track meet. There’s a lot of people here — I like the girls, too,” he said with a snicker. “But it’s pretty awesome to get your name announced as a champion for everyone to hear. It’s a great feeling — even if they get it wrong a couple of times.”
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Syvertson wasn’t the only two-sport athlete from the area to leave Charleston with a medal on Friday.
Register-Herald Boys Basketball Player of the Year TaRon Ayers of Summers County took home third place in the Class AA long jump competition.
“I feel like I came out here and competed for my first year doing track and long jump. I feel like I did pretty well,” he said.
Ayers finished third, but was in first place until the final heat with a jump of 19 feet, 5 inches.
“I just wanted to come out here and represent my community,” he said. “I decided to do this because I thought it’s a good thing to stay in shape for basketball in the offseason. It was a lot of fun.”
Ayers will be leaving Summers County High School for his senior season to play basketball at a yet-to-be-determined prep school.
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