What Might Have Been: Boys Discus
After winning back-to-back discus state titles in AA, Hickory's Brock Grundy has graduated and we'll get a new champion in the disc. The one who would have been in the driver's seat to seize the moment would be Duane Knisely of Chestnut Ridge. Now a senior, Knisely had a big junior season that saw him take second to Grundy at states and then place fifth in the nation with a big day at New Balance Nationals Outdoor.
Knisely tossed the discus 187-11 at NBNO in North Carolina to finish off his junior campaign. He had plenty of momentum coming into what could have been a very big senior campaign.
Lakeland's CJ Dippre would have been a major contender for the win here, too though. Dippre was third at states last year, just a mere two inches behind Knisely best toss at Ship. It would have been a worthwhile matchup to keep an eye on over the weekend.
Wilmington's Connor Vass-Gal is the only other returning medalist. He was sixth last year at Ship. Wyomissing's Evan Niedrowski and Fairview's Eric Schulz -- like Vass-Gal -- have best throws from last season of 163 feet.
Notre Dame-Green Pond's Thomas Kitchell rolled to his first state championship of his career last year, tossing 177-4 for the win at Shippensburg last year. Now he's back for his senior season and looking for more. After that then-PR of 177, Kitchell had a big summer that included bettering his PR to 185-5. That is over 20 feet better than the next best AAA returner. He would have been the big favorite for a repeat state title again this weekend.
McKeesport's Colin Lyons (fifth), Northern Lebanon's Dylan Lambrecht (sixth), and Fleetwood's Jeff Kline (seventh) are the other returning medalists in the AAA discus. Northern's Jon Barrett is another 160-foot returner in the field.
Ultimately, most in this field would be chasing Kitchell in this event.