Pins for wins: Wildcat trio rises with offbeat routinesMay 23, 2017
By WYATT L. STAYNER
The same resource people use to help design their wedding dresses is aiding the throwers for Jasper girls track.
For the first time in coach Dean Jerger’s 11-year stint with the Wildcat girls, Jasper will send two throwers in each event to the regional at Evansville Central, with the girls competing tonight and the boys regional set for Thursday. That success, like most athletic accomplishments, was born from hard work, talent and, of course, Pinterest.
For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a website that’s a virtual pin board, where users can post things like recipes or craft projects or wedding dress ideas, which can be accessed by other users. Or in the case of Wildcat girls track, Kyla Beier, who coaches the team’s throwers, posts links to pictures or videos for workouts her athletes can use.
“First of all, I use it in my whole, entire life,” Beier said of Pinterest. “But then, I was thinking, ‘There’s so many good ideas out there,’ because by no means do I know everything. So I’m like, ‘I’ll just go to the experts,’ and it just kind of went from there. Now I have a whole board of drills to do just for shot put, just for discus. Different drills. So I’m basically just using other people’s stuff to help out the girls.”
Beier found the idea after encountering a workout rut where it felt like her throwers were doing the same old exercises every day. Instead of sticking strictly with benches, squats and cleans, the throwers have hit the refresh button on exercises by sliding in some unique workouts, which were “needed to mix it up and be more fun and she just got, like, addicted to Pinterest and would not stop pinning stuff,” senior thrower Kayle Mehne said. Those exercises included one that is “kind of like hurdling the benches of the bench press,” Mehne said.
“People were working out in the back of the weight room, and all of the sudden we just start hopping over the bench platform,” Mehne joked.
Beier and all three of the throwers — Mehne, junior Erin Lyons and freshman Marissa Bradley — said it’s become a running joke to laugh at some of the more unorthodox stretches or exercises they try.
“It has made it more fun for me, for sure,” Beier said. “At least if I don’t know an answer, I know I can go somewhere to get it. It kind of takes a little stress off of me not worrying what we’re going to do every day because the ideas are there, I just have to put it together. I think it makes it more fun in the weight room because we laugh at the weird things we’re doing. We just look so awkward, but we’re just going to keep doing it anyway. ‘If Beier’s doing it, it must be right, right?’”
The routine has even started to draw attention from the rest of Jasper’s track squad, since at times it seems as if the throwers are having more of a party than a practice.
“All they do is just run laps around the track,” Mehne said of her runner teammates. “They make comments about how the entire practice is just like the time of our lives. Like Beier said, we joke around a lot. We get work done and we push ourselves — I’m sore 90 percent of the time — but the mixing it up and the goofing around and not being able to figure out how to do the workout because it’s a random Pinterest workout that Beier found, or goofing around with each other definitely makes it a lot of fun.”
There’s no doubting that these Wildcat throwers are serious, as the proof is in the results. While Mehne will compete in discus and shot put, Lyons qualified in discus, and Bradley earned her spot in the shot put. Jerger explained the Cats have been building to this moment for a few years with their throwers.
“Success breeds success, perhaps,” Jerger said. “It’s not like we’ve been horrible with throwing, but it’s one of those things that a lot of times in track you have to rely on your seniors to help coach the kids. In the last few years, the seniors who graduated last year and the year before, they did a good job of nurturing the incoming freshmen. You take a Kayla Mehne, who’s now a senior, she’s had senior leadership above her that I think has made a difference and then you throw in Coach Beier being with us for five years now. It takes a while to get your routine figured. The kids are definitely buying into Coach Beier.”
Mehne said the quartet is like a family. Beier is the mom, and Bradley is the “annoying little sibling,” who doesn’t stop asking questions, Mehne kidded. The group feels an extra closeness, Mehne said, because it’s a smaller part of the team than the contingent of runners. There were around nine throwers for the most of the season, before taking this group, and an alternate thrower, to sectional.
“We definitely bicker like a little family. There’s a lot of sassiness over here,” Mehne joked.
Lyons considers Mehne “the mom and sister at the same time. She always makes sure to keep us in line, but me and her are like sisters, too.” Also, Mehne admitted that if Bradley is the annoying sibling, that makes her the older sibling with a short fuse, since she got fed up with some questions from the youngsters in a group text among throwers earlier this season.
“I just snapped,” Mehne said. “I sent this long text message like, ‘You guys are killing me. You got to stop asking so many questions, you got to listen to Beier.’”
All the fun family bickering aside, Mehne admires both teammates, mentioning that Lyons is always composed and humble, and that Bradley will be out-throwing her by next season with a chance to break the school shot put record before she graduates from JHS. Bradley’s early success might be partially due to the fact that she’s already faced nervous moments before as a national anthem singer.
“I can say that I’ve performed in front of a bigger crowd so I can do it here,” said Bradley, who’s sung the anthem prior to JHS boys and girls basketball games plus at volleyball matches, including the semistate last fall.
With three throwers headed to regional, Mehne said she thinks teammates are taking extra notice. Mehne was even able to win the Most Valuable Senior award at this year’s team banquet, a sign of respect that made Mehne almost cry.
“A lot of the runners think that throwing is just kind of a joke,” Mehne said, “but especially after Tuesday night’s sectional, we probably wouldn’t have won without us. There’s definitely some appreciation since then.”
When: Girls regional tonight; boys regional Thursday. Both at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Central Stadium, Evansville
What’s at stake: Top three finishers in each event advance to next weekend’s state finals in Bloomington
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