BROOKVILLE — Two years, two different seniors and two Class 2A javelin titles for the Clarion-Limestone Lions track and field team.
One year after first-year senior Riley Hummell won the district title, Lions senior Ian Callen repeated the feat by winning the javelin at last Friday’s District 9 Class 2A Championships with a career-best throw of 179 feet, 8 inches.
Callen didn’t throw last year while Hummell threw his way to a district title and state medal with an eighth-place finish.
This year, Callen warmed up with the weather pretty much, his best throw of the year up to that point of 175 feet, 6 inches coming at the Redbank Valley Invitational on May 9.
“I definitely got better because I got more comfortable with my arm,” Callen said. “Last year, I didn’t throw because my arm was bothering me, but as this season went on I felt I could do more and keep pushing to do better.”
After scratching on his third throw and last of the preliminary round, going wide right and out of bounds, Callen uncorked one on his fourth throw, which wound up being his winner.
“I felt really good. There are a couple things I need to work on, getting my distance right. But everything went well, my arm was good and I’ll try to keep it that way,” Callen said. “I had to adjust. I went to the right side of the track and started toward the middle.”
Two other throwers got over 160 feet with Kane’s Aaron Hottel grabbing the second state berth with a throw of 166 feet, 7 inches. Elk County Catholic’s Raivis Bobby was third at 160 feet, 7 inches.
At states, Callen is seeded seventh with his district-winning throw. He’s one of eight throwers seeded at 177 feet or more with the top seed being Max Saxe of Northwest at 200 feet 9 inches. As per pa.milesplit.com, Two other throwers have gotten over 200 feet this year — Palmerton’s Chris Fredericks at 206 feet, 3 inches and Wyomissing’s Even Niedrowski at 201 feet, 11 inches. Those two threw 186-10 and 184-6 at their district meet last year.
“This week, our goal for states is to keep working on his throwing mechanics and footwork, to try keeping him relaxed and to have fun with his throws,” Lions head coach Alan Cumo said. “After he threw his personal-best and qualified for states, he said he was nervous until he made that toss. I came back with, ‘You’ve been here before. How many times were you down by one with seconds on the clock and the ball in your hands? Or down by one no time on the clock, you’re at the line and have to hit both ends of a one and one? Felt good, didn’t it.’ And he tilted his head and smiled at us.”
All eight medalists from last year graduated.
“I’m really excited. I can’t wait,” said Callen, who will throw Friday morning starting at 9 a.m.
“Our main goal as a staff is not winning, it’s always to prepare yourself to perform your personal-best. We just hope he can continue to grow with each throw. He’s sure working towards it.”
Overall, the Lions were 11th out of 15 scoring teams in the boys’ meet. Austin Newcomb scored in three events, placing fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (40.99), and fifth in both the 200 dash (23.56) and 110 hurdles (15.52), just missing the state-qualifying time in the sprint hurdles of 15.0. Newcomb also finished 11th in the triple jump.
Ben Smith placed in the throws, winding up fifth in the shot put with a toss of 45 feet, 2 1/2 inches.
Not scoring, but finishing in the top 10 was Jimmy Gunning with an eighth in the discus. Callen and Mitch Knepp were 15th and 17th respectively.
The Lady Lions had just one scorer as Rachel Greeley was sixth in the 300 hurdles (49.66). She just missed points in the 200 dash (27.57), finishing seventh. She also finished 10th in the 100 dash.
Jessica McCracken and Maddy Craig were ninth, McCracken in the 1,600 run and Craig in the javelin. Morgan McNaughton was 10th in the 1,600.