UPDATE (9 p.m. Thursday)
KIRKWOOD SETS ANOTHER JAVELIN RECORD
The fierce headwinds that tormented distance runners at Star Track XXIX on Thursday evening helped Christine Kirkwood set another state track and field meet record in the javelin.
The Othello senior harnessed the gusts, hurling the javelin 167 feet, 9 inches, and captured her third consecutive Class 2A state title in the event at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
“If you catch it at the right angle,” Kirkwood explained, “the wind will carry the javelin.”
Kirkwood’s throw shattered the record she set last year by almost five feet. The margin could have been bigger. Earlier this season she let loose a throw of 173-9, which ranks as one of the best marks in the nation this year by a prep athlete.
Kirkwood admitted she wasn’t at her best, but she gladly settled for another meet record.
“For sure,” she said, “to improve on the meet record is nce.”
Future javelin throwers will be happy to know that a Kirkwood will not be throwing a javelin in the 2A ranks next season. Christine and older sister Courtney have combined to claim the past six javelin state titles.
“Yep, we’re finally done,” said Christine Kirkwood, who will attend the Air Force Academy.
SHELTON WINS 4A BOYS SHOT PUT
Danny Shelton picked a good time to uncork the best throw by a 4A shot putter this season. The Auburn senior won the 4A boys state title with a toss of 60-1. His previous best was 58-4.5.
When the University of Washington football recruit climbed the podium, he held a ukulele in his hands. Shelton received the uke in early May when his nieces returned from a trip to visit family in Samoa. At the bi-district track meet last week, Shelton passed time playing the instrument with friends.
“I take it with me everywhere,” he said. “I play every day.”
GLACIER PEAK DISTANCE RUNNER CRUSHES OWN MEET RECORD
Another year, another state meet record for Amy-Eloise Neal.
The Glacier Peak sophomore smashed by almost 20 seconds the 3A mark she set as a freshman, winning the 3,200 in 10 minutes, 12.33 seconds.
“Considering the wind, I’m happy with it,” said Neal, who was aiming for 10:10.
Neal set such a fast pace that the second- and third-place runners – sophomores Katie Wright of North Central and Shadle Park’s Kendra Weitz – also finished well ahead of the previous meet record time.
Neal said she tried to keep the blustery weather out of her mind, but it played a role in the race.
“At such a high-caliber meet you’re very focused on the race,” she said. “The wind was definitely there. Pushing through was hard on the middle laps.”
Kentwood’s Alyx Toeaina gave the Conquerors an early boost to their team title hopes, winning the 4A girls discus championship with a throw of 136-3. … Inglemoor’s Tansey Lystad won the 4A girls 3,200 in 10:28.92, finishing more than 23 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. … Skyview’s boys 4×400 relay team blistered the competition, winning by almost eight seconds with a state-leading time of 3:16.61. … Anthony Armstrong of Kamiakin challenged the 3A boys 3,200 meet record with his winning time of 8:57.36, less than two seconds off the mark set in 1983. … Lewis and Clark’s Kenji Bierig held off Olympia’s Nate Brennand in the 4A boys 3,200. Bierig won in 9:01.71 and Brennand finished in 9:02.64.
I’m at Mount Tahoma Stadium for the first day of Star Track XXIX, the 4A, 3A and 2A state track and field meets.
It’s windy and rain has been falling on and off all day. Kids hoping to set PRs or meet records in the throwing events today will have to be at their best.
We ran a feature on Heritage javelin thrower Sean Keller in today’s paper. Keller’s throw of 232 feet, 1 inch, is the best in the nation this year. You can also find preview capsules on a few events and athletes to keep an eye on by clicking that link.
We’ll have two reporters and at least one photographer at the meet every day, so check back for updates, videos and photo galleries.