West Bloomfield thrower takes discus state championship

By: Christian Davis | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 15, 2011

 West Bloomfield’s Taylor Gunn, pictured last year, won the Division 1 discus state championship title.

West Bloomfield’s Taylor Gunn, pictured last year, won the Division 1 discus state championship title.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Gunn


West Bloomfield High throwing coach Rick Mickley remembers seeing Taylor Gunn and Louis Daranda walk into his clinic when they were just in middle school.

“They were both strong, very eager and wanted to learn,” Mickley remembered. “The three of us hit it off immediately. What is it exactly that I saw was more so the desire.”

That desire has taken the duo from interested kids to being among the best throwers the state has to offer as seniors.

In the Division 1 state track and field championships June 4 in Rockford, Gunn won the discus event with a toss of 136 feet, 7 inches. Daranda finished fourth in shot put, throwing 55 feet.

Gunn’s toss was over 7 feet longer than second place.

“I was extremely happy,” she said. “I thought, ‘finally.’ It was supposed to happen last year.”

Gunn’s title is the culmination of a storied prep career. She finished second in discus and shot put as a junior after placing fifth in both events as a sophomore.

“She works hard,” Mickley said. “I’ve been coaching for 24 years and being a thrower, she’s putting in 40-50 throws a day. That’s pretty tough and that’s wearing, but she loves to throw. She’s fun to watch in practice, as much as it is fun to watch her in a meet.”

Gunn said her desire to be the best drives her dedication.

“I just don’t like to lose at all,” she said. “I needed to make sure I redeemed myself.”
Next season, Gunn will throw for the University of Texas at El Paso on scholarship.

“I visited the school and fell in love with it, and they offered me a really good scholarship,” she said.

Gunn won the discus and shot put events in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division meet all four years according to Mickley. She is also the West Bloomfield record holder in discus with a toss of 143-1.

“I really enjoy that it’s an individual sport,” Gunn said. “It’s all about you, and if you win or are successful, or even fail, it’s all on you.”

Following the final, Mickley had to say goodbye to his first state champion.

“It’s been a pleasure,” he said. “She’s just a sweet kid and hard worker that wants to do well.”