Madison Wiltrout has more tape-measure javelin throws than any high school girl in history.
Based on her effort in a triangular on Wednesday, it might be time to dust off the steel tape as the Connellsville Area senior is almost back to record-setting form. With an all-weather runway underfoot once again, Wiltrout unleashed a new US#1 throw of 173 feet, 10 inches at Mt. Pleasant.
Wiltrout's mark is the longest in the nation this year by more than 14 feet and the best in Pennsylvania by an additional 2.
"The 173-10 was a huge accomplishment for me this year," Wiltrout said. "It was a distance I've been waiting to hear since I had the setback almost two years ago. It lets me know I am able to throw what I did before."
At the state meet in May 2015, Wiltrout was only weeks removed from her national record throw of 185-8 at a WPIAL qualifier. Competing in windy conditions, she again topped 180 in the opening round but tore her ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in her right elbow as she broke technique in trying to throw under the wind, bringing an end to her season as surgery followed.
The North Carolina recruit returned to action in 2016 and picked up a third state title in the javelin. She got stronger and regained confidence with each meet but was limited to a best of 164-1 and US#4 in the yearly rankings.
Wiltrout, who has three of history's four longest throws and nine meets over 160 feet, has incorporated CrossFit training into her regimen as she looks to throw farther and more often in upcoming meets.
"My workouts have given me a lot of endurance in my strength," she said of the benefits she has seen from CrossFit work. "A lot of girls you notice die out by the end of a competition with low distance throws.
"When I have to, I am able to maintain the distance and even on my last throw maybe get one farther. I also try to be a lean but strong javelin thrower so I have more flexibility."
Wednesday's best came on her opening throw as she took full advantage of the all-weather runway.
"The (all-weather) runway helps limit the fear of slipping or running in a rut so it helps you dial in on just attacking the throw," Wiltrout said. "(It) doesn't make you worry about anything but just hitting the positions you need to. It normally adds a good bit to my throw because I always hit the block harder."
The next big meet on Wiltrout's schedule is the Penn Relays. She first broke the state record there in 2015 by taking the runner-up spot with the 600-gram implement with a heave of 168-5.
"I'm definitely on schedule to throw well there," the senior said. "Depending on weather and how I feel that day, we'll see how it goes. My training and today's distance has propelled me into a better mindset and confidence for Philadelphia."