Shump prepares for her winning throw, a US#3 45-04.75
It's an unreal year for the Shot Put in PA. Ryan Whiting hasn't had a meet with a throw under 65 feet all season. No one else in the US has thrown that far even once. We'll let that sink in a minute by telling you that Whiting says he isn't done yet. He has one more chance to reach the 70' level indoor at the Nike Team Nationals in two weeks. His 68-11.25 throw to raise his PA Indoor Record made him believe even more that he just needs that one throw where it all clicks to hit his goal. "I need to get it high, instead of just straight out."
The girls' Shot Put features a freshman who seems to have all the tools to put on some special displays over the next three years. Karen Shump was at the top of the early in the season, and midway through the season, hit her for 40' throw. "I wasn't using my legs, and we really tried to work on that by doing more drills. And it just came together today." Together meaning a state-leading, US#3 45-04.75.
And gets congrats from her coach.
Her first round started a little rough, throwing one into the screen. "It wasn't nerves, I was just pulling by block too hard." Shump says her coaches kept her calm and helped her adjust a few things, and the rest took care of itself. Shump wasn't actually leading heading into the finals. That was Cedar Crest's Becky Eisenhauer. The two traded the lead through the first two rounds of the finals, until Shump unleashed her big throw. "I knew it was out there. I just didn't know how far. Me and Becky were throwing really well." Eisenhauer believed the competition against Shump for the second time this year was beneficial, as well. She threw a PR over 42' in the trials, and that helped to take off a little stress. "...then I just went after it." As for facing Shump during the rest of the year - "It's gonna make the year fun."
And sisters Tayvon and Kaleena Gray competed to a dead heat as far as distance, with both throwing 40-00.50. Frosh Kaleena took 3rd , the senior Tayvon 4th. It was Kaleena's first throw over 40, while Tayvon owns the family PR of 42-07.50 set at the 2005 Nike Indoor meet.
Nicole Smith in the Long Jump, one of her three individual wins.
Three events can be described in the names of two athletes - Smith and Hannon. Nicole Smith, the Mcdowell senior, wanted to sweep the three field events over her junior competitor, Erin Hannon of Bradford. She did, but not before Hannon pushed her with a PR of her own in the High Jump at 5-10. The two each cleared that height, and Smith even got a good look on her 3rd and final shot at 5-11, winning the event on misses. In the Long Jump, Smith went 19-01, just .75 off her PR. Hannon PRed by two inches, taking 2nd with a leap of 18-03.25. But it was the Triple Jump in which Smith 'popped a really big one', at 39-07.50. Smith needed every bit of the PR, because Hannon was just behind her at 39-06.00. For Hannon, it was her 3rd PR of the meet. Smith says a sprained ankle early in the season allowed Hannon to beat her at an early season Triple Jump. "I just remember that feeling of her sneaking by me, so it was kinda like a stab in the heart."
But Erin Hannon was right behind her, pushing to three PRs and getting 2nd in those same three events.
Smith says she was totally focused on the state indoor meet and what it meant to her. "I'll never see this place again, and I just really, really wanted to do well." She has college visits planned at Arkansas and NC State, as well as others, and plans to sign in April, before competing at the Penn Relays, where she'll probably see Hannon again. "She does motivate me to do better, but I am outta here (Indoor states). She can have the spotlight."
Smith's day was even busier than the three field events. She also PRed in the 60 Hurdles, running 8.99 in the Semis, and eventually taking 3rd. Hannon didn't advance from the Semis, and ran a 9.44, off her 9.31 season best.
In the Pole Vault, three girls bettered the state record height of 12-06 set by Lindsey Regan in 2004. Regan actually would keep the record, re-establishing it at 13-00. Butler's Kendall Butch was 2nd on misses over Latrobe's Caitlin Hewitt, both at 12-07. For the story on the confusing and controversial end to the Pole Vault, read the story... Following official review, Lindsey Regan's new Indoor State Pole Vault Record really is 13-00.
In the High Jump, both Juan Cave, St. Joseph's Prep, and Ryan Fritz, Octorara, closed in on and broke the Meet Record, bettering t he mark by 1/4-inch, each clearing 6-10.50. But it was 7' and better that they wanted. Cave had the best look, but clipped the bar with his heel on the way to the mat. In the Pole Vault, both Eric Sparks, Hickory, an d Ron Walters of Baldwin cleared 15-06, with Sparks taking his 2nd state championship (outdoor 2004) on misses. Glen Mills' Wendell Simpkins was the champ in the Long Jump, clearing 22-07. And Barry ZChurch of Penn Hills won the Triple Jump over Simkins by just 1/4-inch, going 46-06.50.
And the #4 all-time indoor thrower, Ryan Whiting.