LA CROSSE, Wis. -- A foot fault from disappointment, Whitworth senior Carter Comito stepped in the discus circle at Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Roger Harring Stadium on Thursday and prepared to throw yet again.

In danger because of two previous errors in the event’s preliminary round, he had to make a clean attempt on his third and final throw or not advance to the final.

“A lot of it is just confidence,” Comito said. “After I had those two early fouls, I just had to kind of tell myself, ‘You got this, you’ve done it before. Just let it happen’. I’d say the biggest thing probably is confidence.”

Instead, he unleashed a 56.49-meter throw that eclipsed anything from his nearest competitor. Although his three throws in the nine-man final round were longer, he’d already won his third consecutive discus title and the first of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

“After that, it was just a huge relief to get one out there,” Comito said of fouling on his first two throws.

No one else came close. Defiance senior Tom Postema finished second with a top throw of 178-6 (54.42 meters), but once Comito stepped out of his own way, it was a cruise to a third DIII outdoor title and his third All-American honor.

“Nerves, I guess,” he said of his foot faults. “I was trying to throw too far. I just couldn’t relax, a little too on edge.”

In fact, he says his instinct, upon completing that crucial third throw, was to look down at his positioning, rather than where his discus landed.

“It was less when I saw it land and more when I saw my foot step inside the ring,” Comito said. “My first two fouls, my right foot stepped out then my left foot stepped out. I was just kind of trying to stand away from the front of the ring — doing a little dance to not foul. Then I saw it land and I was pretty happy.”

Comito’s victory came in one of four men’s finals on the opening day of the DIII outdoor championships. Contested at Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, the event runs through Saturday, with the overall team champion crowned that afternoon.

“Great coaching, great parents, just a great team, I guess,” Comito said of his discus run. “It’s been a great four years.”

It’s not quite over. The Spokane, Wash.,2 native tackles the shot put on Saturday, undoubtedly hoping for less drama. On Thursday, he followed his make-or-break third throw with successive, final-round efforts at 58.48 meters, 58.23 meters and an event-best 60.38 (198-1). The latter was a DIII championship meet record.

“Some of them just feel easy and those are the good ones,” Comito said.