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The Gordien family has a long tradition of tossing metal objects a mind-boggling distance

SANDY POST: DAVID BALL - Recently graduated Dayne Gordien, left, poses with his dad Marc outside their family home. Dayne won the 5A state titles in the discus and shot put last May.Sandy High senior Dayne Gordien stepped into the ring and saw a familiar face. His heartbeat picked up a notch and a determined look crossed his face. Dayne was not going to be denied a state title in his final trip to historic Hayward Field.

The foe was Milwaukie's Noah Ramirez — both members of the class of 2008 — the two had done battle ever since Dayne arrived at Sandy from Southern California to start his sophomore year.

Rewind the clock a few months. Dayne is biting into a chicken dinner, while getting geared up to perform at the elite Sandy Invitational the next day.

Something goes bad.

Dayne guesses he didn't cook his chicken all the way through. He spends a sleepless night fighting nausea and a fever. The sun comes up and he's still feeling awful, like someone making his first ocean voyage. Dayne steps onto the scale and discovers he's dropped 10 pounds overnight.

Still, Sandy's showcase meet lies ahead.

It's a rainy, gusty day outside.

He chooses to compete.

Ramirez takes the early lead in the discus, but Dayne overtakes him in the fifth round of the competition. His mark of 161 feet, 11 inches holds up or the win.

"It stayed up in the air, I passed my last throw and went home sick for the rest of the weekend and missed a couple days of school," Dayne said.

But before he went home, Dayne still had the shot put competition. Ramirez put out the top mark of 58-10.25, and Dayne's best effort came up a thumb short. It would prove to be his only second place finish of the entire season.

"I put all my energy into the discus — I was a zombie when it came time for the event," Dayne said.

The loss did fuel him to sweep a rematch with Ramirez during a league dual three weeks later.

An even more impressive performance would follow at the Northwest Oregon Conference championships. Dayne had seen social media reports that his rival was hitting the 60-foot line in practice leading up to the shot put final. It would take a school record effort to win district.

Dayne stepped up to the challenge breaking the school record early in the competition, then improving on that mark several times before winning at 61-2.5 — nearly two feet ahead of Ramirez.

"I went 58 something for a school record, then 59, 60, 61 — I was just on a roll," Dayne said. "I just wanted to beat him that day."

The discus wouldn't be close. Dayne spun the disc 184-3 — nearly 20 feet farther than Ramirez, who ended up in third place.

Dayne finished the day with meet records in both of his events.

So, let's return to the shot put ring at Hayward Field. The last time these two would be chasing the same prize — at least in a high school setting.

Dayne put the shot put title away early with a throw of 58 feet at the end of preliminaries. He did even better on each of his three throws in the finals to win the event at 60-10.75. He finished with six of the seven best marks.

The discus competition stayed close early with Dayne fouling his first attempt, and holding a ruler-length lead after the second round. It was his third throw that would win it — a monster fling of 186-2 that put him more than 20 feet clear of anyone else in the field.

"I knew the team was relying on me for points that day," Dayne said. "And I wanted to win it myself, too."

It was Dayne's first time topping the podium at Hayward, while also supplying the Pioneers with 20 points to set the tone for a runaway state championship in Sandy's final season as a 5A school.

Dayne finished ninth in the discus his first year at Sandy. Heading into his junior season he devoted himself to the weight room and was putting up some of the state's top marks early in the season.

"I could see myself getting stronger, putting up more weight and more reps," Dayne said. "It just seems crazy when you find yourself lifting twice your own weight."

About halfway through, he started getting all kinds of advice. Little tweaks here or there that would give him an edge as the season rolled towards it's championship meets.

Instead, his marks became maddeningly inconsistent.

"I started out as one of the top throwers, but something was off with my technique and I couldn't figure it out," Dayne said. "I had too many opinions going on — it was like I had a new technique to learn each week."

Still, he made the state podium for the first time — third in the shot put and fifth in the discus — but Dayne wasn't satisfied.

That where a rich family history came into play.

Dayne's grandfather Fortune was a four-time world record holder in the discus, using a revolutionary technique — a quick plant foot at the end of his spin — to generate a boost in power.

"He set the precedent on the technique," his son Marc said. "You need to have a fast left foot to make the end of your spin quicker — you get that foot down and it gives you more pull. He was the first guy I know of who ever talked about the rhythm of the discus."

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Daynes grandfather Fortune Gordien was a three-time Olympian and a four-time world-record holder in the discus during the middle of the 20th century.

Fortune competed in three Olympic Games (1948, '52 and '56) coming away with a bronze and a silver medal. He won gold at the 1955 Pan American Games.

The Olympics went from a cinder ring to a concrete circle during his time competing. Fortune poured a 10-by-10 foot practice pad in a field east of Sandy that still stands to this day.

Along with his throwing career, Fortune landed minor roles in several feature films — most notably The Cisco Kid.

Marc was a standout thrower himself, excelling in the shot put where he came in fifth during the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Entering Dayne's senior year, he continued his weight room work, but also drilled the old family secret on a concrete ring that Marc poured in the family's garage. That allowed 30 minutes a day of footwork, rain or shine, throwing into a heavy plastic tarp.

"The drills build your muscle memory, that's the studying — the throw is the test," Marc said.

Dayne also dialed in his diet, fueling his body every four hours and avoiding junk food. He doesn't touch soda, while sneaking the occasional handful of Skittles.

"The blue and purple ones are my favorites," he says.

The routine not only increased his distance, but brought him an enormous level of consistency.

That work continued this summer when Dayne chose to miss his graduation ceremony in order to compete at the New Balance national meet in North Carolina where he came in 11th in the discus.

Dayne plans to take the next year training and competing in all-comers meets, while adjusting to the next size of implements, before making a choice on college.

"I just want to be the best thrower I can be," Dayne said. "I never met him (Fortune), and sometimes I forget about that history. But I have the genetics, and I've heard that I have the same mindset that he did. Still, you have to work for it."


Find this story in our Aug. 8, print edition.


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