Jun. 8—Born into throwing, Pueblo West High School’s Wyatt Pruce is looking to improve his mental game as he takes on his last few meets as a high school track and field athlete.
Pruce has been participating in discus and shotput for years, but once he began competing at the high school level, he started finding his own way.
“My dad was a thrower at (Pueblo) South High School,” Pruce said. “So, I was kind of bred into this. I started in sixth grade, and from then until my freshman year my dad coached me. I’m super thankful for him to do that, but then I sort of got my own perspective of how I should be throwing, and he had another perspective. So, we started butting heads. But I wouldn’t be here without him.”
After qualifying for the Colorado state track and field championships in the discus as a freshman and sophomore, Pruce finished 10th his sophomore season. He also placed second in the discus in the South-Central League and participated in the 2018 Oregon Relays.
Then after missing his junior season due to COVID-19, Pruce came into his final season as a high school athlete with a goal in mind — breaking the school record.
That goal was accomplished in a meet when Pruce threw 158 feet, 1 inch, breaking the school record. Now though, Pruce said his main objective is to overcome the mental game that is a part of throwing.
“Honestly that should be like a warmup throw,” Pruce said. “So, to hit that (in competition), it’s great. But I just know in my mind, and I’ve proven, I can throw farther. It’s just something with competitions, I get into my head, and I get anxious. I just need to have fun.”
In practices, Pruce noted his personal best throwing has reached 174-9.
“It’s a lot of personal gain in my mind,” Pruce said. “Right now, I’m very disappointed in how I’m throwing (in competition). In practice it’s 30 feet farther, but it’s my mindset I have to work on. With football, you have a team, and you can rely on them. With this, you’re the only guy who is out there so you have to rely totally on yourself, trust yourself. I still have to work on that.”
Despite the differences Pruce and his father may have about how he should throw, Pruce noted that his father is who has kept him going in the moments when he is struggling with his performance.
“Never give up,” Pruce said on the best advice he’s received from his dad. “There’s been many times throughout my season where I’m just over it. I don’t want to do it anymore. My dad comes home and tells me, ‘You’ve got this. You can do this.’ Then I go out and practice.”
With that encouragement, and his own resilience, Pruce has secured his spot on the University of South Dakota’s track and field team where he will continue his throwing career in the fall.
Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Alexis Smith can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @smith_alexis27.