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Machovec leaves throwing legacy at Dacula

It seems like every sport in the state of Georgia has a famous family name associated with it.

In football, there are the Bailey brothers from Charlton County - Ronald, Champ and Boss.

In baseball there are the Drew brothers from Lowndes County - J.D., Tim and Stephen.

And now in throwing events there are the Machovec siblings from Gwinnett County, led by Dacula senior Israel, who swept both the discus and shot put at the Class AAAAA state meet.

His sister Eve, a sophomore at Dacula, won the discus and finished fourth in the shot put.

"We win medals and we're happy about it," said Israel, the 2006 Daily Post Field Performer of the Year. "But it's just something that we love to do ... And I really wanted the discus because I had never won the discus at (state) before. So it was something I was aiming for and I was pretty happy with it."

Machovec wasn't all that pleased with his final high school shot put - though it still won the state title by six inches - but he saved his best-ever discus toss for the perfect time.

Heading into the state finals in May, the 6-foot-4 senior's personal best in the event was 176 feet, 10 inches.

But at the state meet he unleashed a throw of 182-1 to obliterate the field and complete his two-event sweep. The second-place finisher was at 161 feet.

"Discus was pretty good," Machovec said. "There's still more in me, but it was my (personal record) of the season and it was finally over 180. I was just really happy that I finally got one off."

And now the rest of the state is happy he's finally off to college.

For a while it looked like Machovec would be accepting a track/football scholarship to Liberty University - Machovec was also a talented receiver on the Dacula football team - but he began to see more and more doors swinging open because of his throwing ability.

"We were still thinking Liberty was an option, and then I got contacted by North Carolina and so we went to visit the University of North Carolina," Machovec said. "And I had also been talking to the Georgia Tech coach, Coach (Allen) Bradd for a while. And I was also talking to Coach (Don) Babbitt from Georgia. And I started liking the idea of just doing track."

Machovec, who began training with his renowned father David when he was 8, ended up accepting a full scholarship from Babbitt at UGA. Afterwards he talked with former Gwinnett County track standout and Brookwood grad Andrew Hackney, who now competes for the University of Louisville.

If Machovec was concerned about giving up football at one time, the Dacula senior is now quite content at just competing in one sport in college.

"In football they own you," Machovec said. "Track is a lot less stressful ... and I got to go to Georgia and watch a track meet. I got to hang out with them, which I really enjoyed because I had never been to a college track meet before.

"And it's so much different (than high school). Throwing in college, just the throwing aspect, is a lot bigger than throwing in high school. Throwing is about as big as football, I could say, but in its own little world. They have such a passion for it."

If that's the case, Machovec could possibly consider himself the Matthew Stafford of the UGA recruiting class then. Stafford is the hot-shot true freshman QB who might start for the Bulldogs in the fall. Machovec hopes to have a similar impact on the Georgia track team - even if it doesn't come in 2006.

"They have two throwers that are (rising juniors) right now," Machovec said. "And they're pretty good. So there might not be a lot of pressure on me right away ... but once I get to my sophomore or junior year I could be really, really good. That's what Coach Babbitt tells me."

He's already really, really good. So is his sister Eve, who will try to duplicate big brother's state sweep the next two years for the Falcons. And then there are the three younger Machovec daughters - all under the age of 11 - who could also be piling up gold medals like their older siblings one day.

"There's three more Machovecs coming," Israel said with a laugh. "And hopefully they can do well."