Weston Banks goes from 175 lb frosh
to 62'2.75" when it counts.
Hempfield's Weston Banks joined the 60-foot club on a perfect day. His throw of 62-02.75 - US#5 mark - eclipsed his outdoor PR of 59-04.25 and his recently set indoor PR of 59-03 by a lot.
The throw was not entirely unexpected. Earlier this season, Hempfield coach Dave Murray had told PennTrackXC that he fully expected Banks to clear the 60-foot barrier at States, despite time missed for a back strain injury which happened during plyometrics.
"All it really did was make me cut back on my lifting, but we lifted hard throughout the season."
Banks' approach to lifting for the throws is a little different as well, Murray says. "While a lot of throwers probably focus on bench press, Weston's primary focus has been on power cleans where he once did 335lbs for a set of three." He did shift to more plyometrics and overhead med ball with the back problem.
Murray continued, "He also always competes his best in the bigger meets. He is a clutch performer. I knew he would hit it on his last throw."
Banks started the prelims with exactly the throw he wanted, over 57 and legal. His 58-3 meant he could worry more about just throwing and less about place for his five remaining throws. His next two were not exactly what he wanted. And his first two of the finals were strong, but nothing like the one he would unleash on his last shot (pardon the pun.)
As for the last throw that won the title when everything was on the line, it was a blur to Banks. "I don't even remember it. It's like a dream. It was the last throw, and this is what we have been aiming for for so long. We get up for the competition, and I guess I did."
But Murray does remember. "He was able to stay lower in the back of the circle and that enabled him to get his hips out in front of him more. His technique was the best I have seen it."
Banks has some football D1 AA offers and has visited Kent State and Michigan. He'll also meet an obligation to visit Rugters, but has Penn State, Pitt, and Temple on his radar. But football isn't his first love. He wants to throw in college. "My heart is in track & field."
As for the title, he was all smiles just thinking about the throw he couldn't remember. "This is what everybody said it would feel like, and it does."
Ryann Krais' best performance at States may have
been something she said after the meet.
Mechacton's Ryann Krais had a great meet, winning the 400 in 56.22, taking the long jump with a leap of 18-00.50, and anchoring the 4x400 to a come-from-behind 3:57.89 with a 56.1. She also took 2nd in the 60 hurdles.
But she wasn't entirely up to her best. Following the 400, she became a little ill, took a longer than usual time to recover, and was hunched over when receiving her winning medal. But Krais is not a complainer, and would be the last person to make any excuses.
Her next race after the 400 and the long jump was the finals of the 60 hurdles. Krais was out well, but appeared to fade a bit over the final two hurdles. Hughesville's Rachel Houseknecht took the opening and pulled off the win by just .01, going 8.85.
Catching up with Krais later, she told PennTrackXC's Hannah Granger and Liz Milewski that she was not unhappy with her day. ""I wasn't disappointed with my performance, only bacause the girl who beat me was a senior. She has worked just as hard and she deserved it just as much."
Coach Rob Ronzano wasn't the least bit surprised by Krais' reaction. "You can't win every time you compete, but by your actions after a race, win or lose, you'll always be judged. I'm more proud of the person she has become than I am of her accomplishments on the track. She's a great athlete, but even a notch higher as a person."