After learning their coach's masters age-division (50-years-plus) discus record had been broken, members of the Tonto Apache track and field team encouraged Billy Joe Winchester to try and regain the marks.
"I've been working out for the past six weeks to get it back," the former Arizona State University football player said.
His efforts paid dividends April 24 when Winchester says he unleashed a throw of 183 feet, 6 inches that broke the existing master record of 178 feet. The meet was held at Mesa College. Winchester original record was 176 feet, he said.
In the masters' division, athletes throw the 1.6 pound, or high school, discus.
One of Winchester's attempts at Mesa sailed 190 feet but he fouled, he said. Winchester attributes some of the credit for the throws to the wind which, he said, "was great."
Originally, Winchester was not going to attempt the shot put at the Mesa meet. But after throwing more than 53 feet in practice, he changed his mind.
"I was very happy with the effort of 58 feet, 2 inches," he said. "But please remember I don't throw the 16-pound shot anymore, I throw the 13 pound."
A high school shot put is 12 pounds.
"It was hard for me to throw the lighter objects but with practice, I adjusted," he said.
Following Winchester's record-setting efforts, he thanked Ivan and Arlene Smith who, he said, "without their help this would not be possible."
Winchester also attributed some of his success to his son, Alex who, he said "keeps me feeling young."
In other Tonto Apache team action, Shane Levine -- a resident of Dewey -- competed in a school track meet April 24 and finished first place in both the discus (104 feet 8 inches) and the shot-put (35 feet). According to Winchester, Levine is now the No. 3 ranked national discus thrower in the youth boy's age division. In the shot put, he is ranked No. 5.