Two-sport star Mellerson fits role of long shot Transformation: The "goofy kid who could barely throw the shot put 30 feet" as a Mt. St. Joseph's freshman has become the MIAA's best performer in the event.

April 28, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

As one of the area's premier football players and shot put and discus throwers, Mount St. Joseph's Da'Vaughn Mellerson has kept himself abreast of the hoopla surrounding the NFL's recent draft.

Of particular note to Mellerson, a 6-foot-4, 266-pound senior, is UCLA's 6-8, 318-pound Jonathan Ogden. Newly acquired by the Baltimore Ravens and touted as the best lineman in the draft, Ogden, a Washington, D.C., native, is also an Olympic-caliber shot putter.

More importantly, he's someone Mellerson wants to emulate.

"It gives me a lot of incentive knowing that it's possible to do both in college and still get your degree," said Mellerson, who will attend Wake Forest on a football scholarship this fall. "But I know it's going to take a lot of work, and that it's not going to be easy."

Mellerson knows that all too well, having transformed himself from "a goofy kid who could barely throw the shot put 30 feet" as a freshman, according to throwing coach Chris McMahon.

"He was this big kid we took a chance on, basically because we needed a third guy to throw. He was the biggest kid, uncoordinated, and it was kind of disappointing because he was awful," said McMahon. "But as a sophomore you saw that football players' pride come through. He was more serious, and you could see the year of maturity."

Mellerson won the MIAA shot put title as a sophomore, and the following summer worked out with Curley coach Gene Hoffman on a club track team to improve his technique.

As a junior last spring, he repeated as a member of The Sun's All-City/County team, winning his second straight MIAA shot put title in 49 feet, 2 1/2 inches and also capturing the discus crown in a meet-record 143-5.

So far this season, Mellerson's personal-best toss (54-3) is an area standard, and is just two inches shy of last year's area mark (54-5) set by Broadneck All-Metro athlete Arto Vartanian. Mellerson's discus best (155-8) is second only to Old Mill's Alvin Brown (157-0).

But what head coach Gene Constantine likes most about Mellerson is his growth -- in character more than in athleticism.

"He's worked hard, paid his dues, and the result is that he's become a man in character," Constantine said.

Mellerson, who helped the No. 10 Gaels upend No. 5 Calvert Hall last Wednesday, has gained 21 pounds since football season, where, as a defensive lineman, he had 10 sacks among his 82 tackles, earned All-Metro honors and led the Gaels to a share of the MIAA title for the second straight season.

Now when McMahon speaks about Mellerson's abilities, it's a far cry from his descriptions during his freshman season.

"Like Ogden, he's got those physical qualities that make good throwers: Long arms, monster hands, quickness and explosiveness," said McMahon.

"He has risen above everyone else, and he will dominate the league. But what he's really going for are the school records in the shot and discus. Those are a tall order, but he wants to achieve them."

Chris Owens, who went on to success at Indiana University, holds school records in the shot put (57-6 1/2 ) and discus (175-0). Owens stops by, on occasion, to give Mellerson some pointers and "talk trash," McMahon said.

"He's always reminding me about the technical things. He's really helped me out a lot," said Mellerson, who runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash, bench-presses 325 pounds and squats 430.

"Da'Vaughn has come a long way, and he certainly has the potential to be successful in college, possibly All-Conference, or even conference champion," McMahon said.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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