PREVIEW: PTFCA Shot Put Championship

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The wait is over. It is officially PTFCA Championship Week. With an action-packed meet on deck - we want to ensure you're as prepared as we are.

Throughout the week, we will release event-by-event previews of the action and what you can expect on Sunday.

 We'll discuss the Boys' and Girls' Shot Put to kick things off.

The Girls

Elizabeth Tapper - the 2022 State Runner-Up, will miss the 2023 PTFCA Indoor Track and Field Championship with a lower leg injury which opens the door for several young ladies to claim a PTFCA Championship.

Realistically, the three favorites are Justley Sharp (Homer Center), Alexa Brown (Strath Haven), and Ericka Jackson (Harrisburg High School).

Sharp has thrown the farthest of that contingent. She threw a lifetime best 45-0 at the Hempfield Area SP Meet on December 20th. That throw ranks her eighth in the nation, and although she hasn't thrown further than that mark, her consistency has been unrivaled.

Her worst meet of the year would still rank her inside the US Top-16. She has gone undefeated since early January.

But Alexa Brown might have something to say about Sharp's undefeated streak. She, too, has been parading an undefeated streak since January. Hers stretches to six meets in total and she most recently picked up an indoor personal best of 43-7 to win the DVGTCA Meet of Champions. She ranks 15th in the country.

The two haven't seen each other in competition this year, but it should be noted that Brown placed third at this Championship a year ago.

Ericka Jackson has her work cut out to keep up with the arms of Sharp and Brown, but she has been coming on strong as of late and has been similarly undefeated since January.

She had not thrown further than 39-2 before February, but she is peaking at the right time. She ranks 26th in the nation with the  43-7.75 she threw at the Douglas W. Wesner Memorial Invitational this past weekend. That was a lifetime best mark, and for the second consecutive meet, she threw over 42 feet.

Likely riding a wave of confidence, she could spell danger for the two aforementioned front-runners. She finished 11th at the 2022 PTFCA Championship.

Avery Dowkus (Mount Carmel Area) could be a dark horse selection. She is the only other girl to have thrown over 40 feet this season and ranks 67th in the nation with her 40-4.25. She did finish 8th at this Championship in 2022, and an improvement in that position should be expected.

Luseane Ma'afu (Williamsport), Kyra Love (Cumberland Valley), Maria Bryant (Shenango), Autumn Stewart (Moniteau), and Eris Pil (Winchester Thurston) will be in contention for podium spots.

Jayla Antomachi (Shaler Area) and Zahara Brown (Germantown Friends) are the only two freshmen in the field. They rank 15th and 13th amongst freshmen nationally. Their first trip to the PTFCA Championship is undoubtedly something that we're keeping an eye on.

The Boys

Junior Brady Mider (Berks Catholic) is the runaway favorite to win the 2023 Indoor Shot Put Championship.

Ranked eighth in the nation, Mider joined an elite club when he joined the 60-foot club by throwing 61-4 at the 11th Annual Shot Put Night in the Valley. He has thrown over six feet further than the next PA Boy this year.

He finished third at the 2022 PTFCA Championship and has found his stride this year. He is undefeated in the 2023 campaign with seven competitions under his belt.

Behind him, four boys will look to challenge his success. Colin Melhorn (Selinsgrove), Kyree Butler (Upper Dublin), Peyton Murray (Hempfield (7)), and Alphonso Koukou (Episcopal Academy) have all thrown over 54 feet, and each has impressive resumes to their names.

Melhorn has looked outstanding this year, hitting personal best marks in each of his meets this season. His development has been fun to watch, and if he can extend his personal best streak to six meets, he may walk away with a gold medal around his neck. 

Butler, the 2022 fifth-place finisher, has also found some consistency this year. He has thrown over 50 feet in four of his six meets this year and won the TFCAofGP Meet of Champions most recently. His season best of 54-8 ranks 73rd in the nation.

Murray snagged an indoor personal best of 54-2 at this week's Hempfield Throws Meet. He is riding a five-meet win streak and was crowned the TSTCA Indoor Shot Put Champion this weekend. He didn't compete at the State Meet in 2022 but would have likely finished inside the Top-8. 

Finally, Alphonso Koukou may be Mider's biggest threat. He has consistently thrown over 50 feet, failing to do so in just one of his nine meets this year. He has thrown over 53 feet three times and threw a personal best of 54-1.5 at the 2023 Bears High School Invitational. He hasn't finished worse than third all year.

John Styborski (Corry) is a fun dark horse selection. His consistency has been noteworthy. He has maintained a two-foot range between his meets and is thriving in his first Indoor season.