Cats, Raiders understand importance of field eventsApril 24, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — The sights and sounds of a track and field meet can be quite engrossing for those in attendance in the stands. Some could be caught off guard by the sudden crack of the gun to signal the start of a race. If you move a bit closer, you could mistake the sounds of the runners feet for a stampede as they pound their way down the track. And should you find yourself at the finish line, you’ll be treated to the chorus of cheers and encouragement that teammates heap upon the runners as they cross the finish line, especially if the race looks to be a photo finish.
But off the beaten path of the track, there are other activities going on that present their own form of theater for the senses. It is in the corner near the visitors’ bleachers where the throwers gather to hurl shot put and discus and practice their own form of athleticism that is not too dissimilar to a ballet routine. It starts with a simple wide base, a strict requirement for a thrower who hopes to achieve a throw of any consequence. Then the thrower can either take a single, long step back followed by a quick turn and throw (called a “glide”) or spin around two or three times to build up power for the heave.
The latter technique, simply known as the spin, is a new trick that Southridge junior Jaden Hayes has been trying to add to his repertoire for the past week or so.
“I have really bad knees,” he said, describing the necessity which caused him to switch up his shot put technique. “The glide was really hard on my knees. Coach said ‘Why don’t you switch to spins?’ And he said I have good spin distance, so it’ll probably be easy to pick up. And it was, now it’s just fine tuning things and getting used to it.”
Hayes threw 39 feet and five inches on Monday evening at the Jasper-Southridge dual meet at Southridge High School, which is slightly below his personal best of 40 feet and 10 inches. While it was not high enough to place in the top three, he did win the discus event by posting a throw of 144 feet and eight-and-half inches.
Southridge boys track coach Scott Buening said that field athletes like Hayes are critical for getting points for the team in meets during the year, as the team’s size can leave them wanting in other areas against bigger teams like Jasper. The Raiders earned 25 points overall, while the Wildcats won the meet with 98 points. The Jasper girls also scored well during the dual meet, picking up 80 points overall versus 52 points for the Southridge girls.
“It’s huge this year” said Buening. “When you’re placing two guys and two girls in almost every single (throwing event), we’re almost disappointed if we don’t have multiple places in the shot and discus on both sides.”
It is a sentiment shared by Buening’s counterpart Ted O’Brien, who coaches the Southridge girls track and field team.
“It’s really important, it’s probably where our depth is,” said O’Brien. “Our strength is in those field events, definitely in throwing. The girls take great pride in their craft and they work extremely hard in all of the events.”
Tori Tretter had a lot to be proud of during the meet, as the senior thrower posted a personal best in the shot put on Monday evening with a distance of 35 feet to earn third place in the dual meet.
“We lift almost everyday, so that helps a lot,” said Tretter, as she looks forward to beating her personal best before the season is over. “Just working on my technique as the year goes along. Hoping to push my PR.”
Tretter also won the discus event with a throwing distance of 108 feet and 11 inches. Senior thrower Karli Meyer placed first in the shot put event for Southridge, throwing 38 feet and ten-and-a-half inches.
Jasper also recognizes the importance of field events, as both the boys and the girls look to grab every point they can and take advantage of their large team by having a scoring presence across the board.
“They’re improving a ton, and a lot of that just comes with more experience,” said Wildcats coach Kevin Schipp. “There’s a lot of skill and technique involved in what they do. If we don’t have quality performances in those events, it affects how the team will perform at bigger meets like conference and sectional.”
“Points are points wherever you get them,” added Jasper girls coach Dean Jerger. “They add a different dimension to the team.”
There were multiple PRs in throwing for the Wildcats, starting with junior thrower Jadon Mehringer posting a 44-foot, five inch throw in shot put, good for first place.
“I felt really good about my performance. It was my personal best so I’m pretty happy,” he said. Mehringer also placed third in the discus event, throwing for 120 feet and four-and-half inches.
Sophomore Marissa Bradley also pushed her limits and threw a personal best 35 feet and three-and-a-half inches to take second place in shot put.
“I’m very proud of it,” she said. “This is the best that I’ve done this year. I’m so proud that I’m improving and making my way towards the (sectional) tournament.”
The throwing events don’t normally get the same spotlight or interest as a dynamic sprinting or relay event, but it seems that everyone in the know understands that if you’re going to go far as a track team, you need some throwers that will spin, glide, and heave their team to success.
“(With) the girls and boys, we’re really hoping we end up with three, maybe four up in Bloomington (for the state finals) in about a month and (they’ll) represent our throwers well,” said Buening.
As for the rest of the results from the meet: Jasper’s Sam DeWitt won the 100 meter hurdles and 100 meter dash back-to-back with times of 16.04 and 11.29 respectively. Drew O’Neil (4:46.38) just edged out teammate Will Smith (4:46.93) in the 1600 meter run. Tristan Backer placed first in the 400 meter dash, posting a time of 53.21. Chris Backer won the 300 meter hurdles by going 42.8. Smith won the 800 meter run by going two minutes flat. Malik Chatman (23.06) got the edge over teammate Easton Bair (23.98). Chatman also had a personal best in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet and 10 and-a-half inches. Jackson Miller placed first in the 3200 meter run with a time of 10:35. Southridge’s Garrett Voegerl jumped for 6 feet to take the high jump event for Southridge. Jasper’s Mitch Kaiser and Southridge athletes Brad Springer and Sam Schroeder each jumped nine feet in the pole vault. Jasper (Cameron Eckstein, T. Backer, O’Neil, C. Backer) won the 4x800 meter relay with a time of 8:46. The Wildcats (T. Backer, Chatman, C. Backer, Smith) also won the 4x400 meter relay, posting 3:38. Southridge ran the 4x100 with a time of 47.14.
Final girls results: Southridge’s Grace Sickbert won the 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles with times of 17.46 and 53.99 respectively. Alexis Brady (12.75) just pulled ahead of teammate Kenzie Neukam (12.87) for victory in the 100 meter dash. Jasper’s Alyssa Skorge won the 800 meter run (2.32) and the 3200 meter run (12:56). Southridge’s Anna Altstadt won the high jump with a height of four feet and eight inches. She also took first in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:02. Jasper’s Kate Weaver won the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:52. Southridge’s Neukam (27.17) just beat teammate Altstadt (27.18) by a nose in the 200 meter dash. Karli Meyer posted a distance of 38 feet and 10 and-a-half inches for the Raiders in shot put. Jasper’s Olivia Biggs won the Pole Vault and the Wildcats swept the relays going 4:35 in the 4x400 and 52.01 in the 4x100 with the same foursome (Hannah Love, Zoe Biggs, Aliyah Schwenk, Haley Love). Jasper won the 4x800 (Anne Brake, Kalen Jochum, Weaver, Skorge) with a time of 10:39.
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