Throwers kick-start outdoor season
Michael Bauer | reporter
The Pittsburg State track and field outdoor season got under way on March 14 at the Emporia State Spring Twilight Meet.
The Gorillas brought only their throwers since the runners had just finished the indoor portion of the season a week earlier.
“It was a partial team competition,” said head coach Russ Jewett. “We could’ve taken our whole team, but decided not to since the indoor season just ended and the entire indoor-outdoor com
bined season can be hard for the people who run around the track.”
Jewett said the opportunity gave the throwers a chance to open their season a bit early.
Larissa Richards had a terrific start to her outdoor season by achieving victories in the shot put and discus to lead the women and finished fourth in the hammer.
Richards threw for a distance of 46-22.5 in the shot put and achieved a mark of 148-4 in the discus.
“I thought it was OK,” Richards said. “It was a good start for me but now I have to progress farther in the season. All I can do is go up from there.”
Her performance was enough to land her MIAA conference athlete of the week honors for track and field.
“It’s no surprise, she came through and competed well in all of her events,” throwing coach Brian Mantooth said. “She came out and broke through in the shot-put. Didn’t have the best conditions in the discus but came through.”
Richards didn’t share the same nonchalant views as her coach.
“I wasn’t expecting it, I was really surprised by it,” Richards said.
For the Gorilla men, John Talbert won the discus and hammer throw. He threw 173 feet, 7 inches in the discus and tossed the hammer 179-11.
Cody Holland placed second behind Talbert with a throw of 166-4 while Shane Lundquist finished third at 163-6.
Mantooth said the throwers had a different attitude about showing up for an outdoor meet than an indoor meet and that showed in their performances.
“I was very pleased,” Mantooth said. “The athletes, they came out and competed well. We had quite a few seasonal-best, a couple of freshmen do well, so all in all, it was a very good meet.”
In the hammer, Luke Wilson threw 165-5 to finish second.
In the javelin, Adam Farnow and Garrett Cantrell placed second and third with throws of 187-10 and 184-10, respectively.
It may not have been bad for the first outdoor meet, but Jewett says that they were still suffering from a bit of oxidation.
“I think they were all a little bit rusty, but on the other hand, they were all champing at the bit, especially the javelin throwers,” Jewett said.
Considering that most of the throwers did not have an indoor event and haven’t competed since May, both coaches thought there were a bunch of surprise performances, especially with the weather not being favorable for some athletes that day.
“During the men’s discus, the wind was pretty ideal, but by the women’s it switched around to a little more of a tail wind,” Mantooth said. “In discus, you want the wind to be coming at you.”
But with everyone working during the off-season, Mantooth says the athletes came in prepared, which helped.
“It tells you that they worked through the fall and trained through the indoor season,” Mantooth said. “Their talent is going to start showing now.”
The Pitt State track team will now turn its focus to this Saturday’s Wendy’s PSU Invite. Jewett says the runners will rejoin at this meet.
“We compete at home this Saturday and just about everyone who is healthy will compete,” Jewett said.
In looking toward this meet, Jewett will be looking for athletes who prepare themselves well and compete with intensity as they continue to progress from indoors.
“Most of our team is in great fitness, coming off the indoor season, but you throw in weather and that makes a difference from competing indoors and outdoors,” Jewett said. “Sometime your competitive edge is not on when you’ve had some time off, but we’re looking to pick up where we left off in the indoor season.”