NSAF 2015 Prep T&F Nat’l Rankings – Girls Throws

by Steve Underwood

The following is the third of a series ranking the top athletes for the 2015 high school track and field season – from the first indoor meets back in December '14 through the final post-season affairs in August (but with a focus primarily on the outdoor season).  It also represents an attempt to create some of the deepest prep rankings available with some of the most detailed analysis.  These NSAF rankings, published for the first time last year, were produced by Steve Underwood, with input from Jim Spier.  They are generally based on the honors won, head-to-head competition and fastest times criteria popularized and used by Track and Field News, as well as other compilers, throughout the years.  This third entry in the series, Girls Throws, was preceeded by Boys Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15 and Girls Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15.

Girls Javelin: Rivera’s big meet wins get it done

1. Sophia Rivera, Brentwood HS (MO) junior, US#2 175-10
1st NBNO, 1st Penn R, 1st Kansas R, 1st Great SW, 1st WY Trials, 1st Am JavFest, 2nd CSI, 7th WY Champs, 7th USA Jrs, 7th USA Srs

2. Gabby Kearney, Roseburg HS (OR) senior, US#3 167-6
1st USA Jrs, 3rd NBNO, 4th Pan Am Jrs, 1st Chicagoland, 1st 6A state, 1st Oregon R

3. Madison Wiltrout, Connellsville HS (PA) soph, US#1 HSR 185-8
2nd Penn R, 1st AAA state, 1st District 7 AAA, 1st WPIAL qualifier

4. Katelyn Gochenour, Marian Catholic HS (NE) junior, US#4 167-2 (#2 167-7Y)
4th NBNO, 1st CSI, 2nd WY Trials, 2nd Am JavFest, 2nd Great SW, 9th USA Jrs, 11th WY Champs

Tie-5. Tairyn Montgomery, Redondo Union HS (CA) junior, US#5 164-4
2nd NBNO, 3rd WY Trials, 4th Am JavFest, 5th USA Jrs, 1st Mt SAC, 1st Arcadia (hept JT)

Tie-5. Emma Fitzgerald, Thayer Academy (MA) junior, US#8 159-5
5th NBNO, 3rd USA Jrs, 3rd Am JavFest, 2nd Chicagoland, 2nd USA JOs(17-18), 1st ISTL

7. Brooke Hinderlitter, Redbank Valley HS (PA) junior, US#9 158-9
7th NBNO, 1st AA state, 1st Oil Co. Inv, 1st District 9 AA, 1st Redbank Inv

8. Danielle Collier, Hickory HS (PA) senior, 156-5
6th NBNO, 2nd Redbank Inv, NM AA state, 1st District 10 AA, 1st Hermitage Inv

9. Samantha Zelden, St. Scholastica (LA) junior, 150-4
1st AAU JOs(17-18), 1st AAU Club, 1st 4A state, 1st Mobile CoC, 1st Sugar Bowl

Tie-10. Keiryn Swenson, Maize HS (KS) senior, =US#6 162-5
1st 6A state, 2nd Kansas R, 1st Hutchinson Inv, 1st AVCTL, 1st Wichita SE Inv

Tie-10. Peyton Montgomery, Barbe HS (LA) senior, =US#6 162-5
1st 5A state, 1st Walker R, 1st Oil City R, 1st Taussig R, 1st Region 1-5A

Analysis:  It’s tough to rank a national record-setter like Wiltrout down at #3, but honors won, big-meet finishes and head-to-head matter most and – due to her unfortunate elbow injury at state – the super-talented soph lost her post-season while Rivera and Kearney shone on the big stage.  Wiltrout did battle Rivera in a great Penn showdown, with the Missourian taking it on the final throw, 169-6 to 168-5.  Then 2 weeks later, Wiltrout exploded to 185-8 to top Haley Crouser’s HSR by 4+ feet.  She followed with 181-0 at districts and 182-8 at state before the injury.  Meanwhile, Rivera won several majors, including NBNO and World Youth Trials.  Kearney avenged her NBNO loss (3rd) with a huge Juniors triumph, then PR’d in 4th at Pan Ams.

Also hard to separate were the next three – all Class of 2016 NSAF Project Javelinists, like Rivera – as Gochenour, Montgomery and Fitzgerald took turns beating each other at NBNO, Juniors and American JavFest.  But Gochenour also won CSI (over Rivera), joined Rivera on the WY Team USA and had a better slate of marks.  Montgomery and Fitzgerald tie for #5, with the former getting NBNO runner-up and a seasonal-best 5 feet further, and the latter coming up huge in Eugene – just missing the Pan Am team in 3rd.  Hinderlitter edges fellow Pennsylvanian Collier for #7, her AA state title and invite matchup win overcoming a spot-lower finish at NBNO.  Zelden’s PR was further down the list, but she takes #9 with a consistent competitive slate, winning 2 AAU titles and the major Mobile and Sugar Bowl meets.  Swenson and Montgomery – experienced seniors each at =US#6 162-5 – passed on post-season meets and tie for #10 here.

Girls Shot Put:  Unbeaten Rivera a clear choice

1. Sophia Rivera, Brentwood HS (MO) junior, US#1 53-3.75 (#1 59-4.25Y)
1st NBNO, 1st NBNI, 2nd USA Jrs, 2nd Pan Am Jrs (both 1st prep), 1st WY Trials, 2nd WY Champs, 1st CSI, 1st Great SW

2. Elena Bruckner, Valley Christian HS (CA) junior, US#2 53-3.5
1st state, 1st Arcadia, 1st CCS Finals, 1st Stanford, 2nd Chicagoland, 1st CCS Top 8

3. Nickolette Dunbar, Whippany Park HS (NJ) junior, US#4 51-2.75 (#2 56-11.5Y)
2nd NBNO, 2nd WY Trials, 6th WY Champs, 1st NJ MOC, 1st Penn R, 3rd NBNI

4. Alyssa Wilson, Msgr. Donovan (NJ) sophomore, US#3 51-7.75 (#5 52-9.25Y)
1st Chicagoland, 3rd NBNO, 5th WY Trials, 2nd NJ MOC, 1st NP-A state, 1st Earth Fed Open

5. Meia Gordon, Cypress Creek HS (TX) senior, US#8 48-11.5i (#4 54-7.25Y)
4th WY Trials, 1st 6A state, 1st Texas R, 1st Victor Lopez, 1st Region 3-6A, 1st Dist 17-6A

6. Nia Britt, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) HS (CA) senior, US#9 48-10.75
2nd state, 2nd Arcadia, 2nd Mt SAC, 1st SS Masters, 1st SS D3 Finals, 1st SS D3 Prelims

7. Leilyn Miles, Justin NW Nelson HS (TX) junior, 48-6
1st USA JOs(17-18), 1st TX MOC, 2nd 6A state, 4th Texas R, 1st Region 1-6A

8. Khayla Dawson, Olympic HS (NC), 48-1 (#6 51-11Y)
4th NBNO, 3rd Chicagoland, 6th WY Trials, 8th NBNI, 2nd USA JO(17-18), 1st Taco Bell

9. Kathleen Young, Warrensburg-Latham HS (IL) soph, US#5 50-10
2nd Great SW, 6th NBNO, 4th Chicagoland, 7th WY Trials, 1st USA JO(15-16), 4th NBNI

10. Jessica Molina, Westwood HS (NJ) junior, US#10 48-10i (#3 54-10.25Y)
3rd WY Trials, 6th NBNI, 12th NBNO, 6th Penn R (3rd U.S.), 1st Eastern States (i)

Analysis:  Compared to the javelin, the top spot in the shot is a slam dunk for Rivera.  For starters, she was unbeaten (by U.S. preps) through a busy campaign, in and out, and won both NBN titles.  She made Team USAs for both Pan Am Juniors and World Youths, with big PRs in both qualifiers and crushing the U.S. Youth standard (3kg shot) in the latter.  She famously won WYC silver in Cali while also contesting the jav, then closed it out with silver (behind collegian Raven Saunders) in Edmonton.  Bruckner held the U.S. lead at 53-5.5, before Rivera nipped it in Eugene, and takes the runner-up spot.  She was well past her peak and a distant 2nd in her only post-season meet, but the strength of her California season – 9 meets at 49-7 or better – was enough.

A pair of Jersey putters take the next two spots.  Dunbar was NBNO runner-up, then joined Rivera on Team USA for the WYC – taking 6th in Cali.  The soph Wilson was 3rd in Greensboro, then after taking “only” 5th at the WYT, she began a summer surge that started with a Chicagoland win (over Bruckner) and ended with a 51-7.75 at a club meet.  What a future she has.  Next is Gordon, who was unbeaten in Texas and a solid 4th at the WYT.  Following her is the #2 Californian and #2 Texan.  Britt was runner-up to Bruckner at state and Arcadia, and swept through the Southern Section.  Miles trailed only Gordon at their state clash and had big wins at the new Meet of Champs and USA JOs.  At #9, Young had some huge throws, but didn’t come up as well in the biggest post-season meets.  Dawson, despite a PR of "only" 48-1, finished ahead of Young at NBNO, Chicagoland and WYT, so ranks #8.  And in #10, Molina had ups and downs, indoors and out, but peaked with a huge 3rd at WYT.

Girls Discus:  Phelps most consistent; avenges only loss

1. Kiana Phelps, Kingsley-Pierson HS (IA) junior, US#2 172-9
1st Chicagoland, 1st CSI, 2nd NBNO, 1st AAU JO(17-18), 1st Drake R, 1st 2A state

2. Kaylee Antill, Tri-Valley HS (OH) senior, US#4 169-3
1st NBNO, 3rd Chicagoland, 1st MW MOC, 1st D1 state, 1st region

3. Haley Showalter, Valor Christian HS (CO) senior, US#6 163-4
2nd Chicagoland, 5th NBNO, 4th USA Jrs (1st prep), 1st Great SW

4. Elena Bruckner, Valley Christian HS (CA) junior, US#1 182-8
4th Chicagoland, 3rd state, 2nd CCS Finals, 1st Arcadia, 1st CCS Top 8, 1st WCAL

5. Josie Schaefer, Baraboo HS (WI) soph, US#3 169-4
1st WY Trials, 5th WY Champs, 1st USA JO(15-16), 1st AAU JO, 2nd D1 state, 1st Baraboo Inv

6. Ronna Stone, Valley Christian HS (CA) senior, US#8 161-9
1st state, 1st CCS Finals, 2nd Arcadia, 2nd CCS Top 8, 2nd WCAL

7. Kendall Mader, Newbury Park HS (CA) senior, US#5 164-4
9th USA Jrs (2nd prep), 2nd state, 1st SS Masters, 1st SS Finals, 1st Don Green Inv

8. Samantha Noennig, Hartford Union HS (WI) junior, US#9 161-6
3rd NBNO, 2nd WY Trials, 10th(q) WY Champs, 13th USA Jrs (3rd prep), 1st D1 state

9. Oyesade Olatoye, Dublin Coffman HS (OH) senior, US#7 162-8
4th NBNO, 2nd MW MOC, 2nd D1 state, 1st region, 1st Smith Inv

10. Meia Gordon, Cypress Creek HS (TX) senior, US#10 160-7
1st 6A state, 1st Texas R, 1st CFISD Inv, 1st region, 8th WY Trials,

Analysis:  You don’t have to throw the furthest or win every meet to be #1, not when you have the consistency that Phelps had.  The small-school Iowa standout threw the discus 162 feet or better in six different meets; no one else surpassed that mark more than twice.  She came into NBNO the favorite, as she had in ’14, and left with the silver after Antill’s PR beat her by three feet.  But she avenged the loss at Chicagoland, where she also defeated national leader Bruckner.  Antill was 3rd at Chicagoland, with NBNO her only meet beyond 160.  Still, with consistency in the high 150s and also having a major win at Midwest Meet of Champs, it was good for #2.  In the #3 spot is hammer leader Showalter, who beat Bruckner and Antill at Chicagoland and was the top prep at Juniors, offsetting a slightly lesser showing at NBNO.

Bruckner – also the US#2 (list) putter – had that monster 182-8 DT at her league meet, but her next best meet was 160-9 and she had a few losses … mainly to teammate Stone, who won the state and section titles – but was still 2nd to Bruckner more often than not.  So they are #4 and #6 here, with Schaefer splitting them.  Schaefer faced few of the top contenders, but won the World Youth Trials, was 5th at the champs, took both age 15-16 JO titles, and had a somewhat outlying 169-4 PR plus a couple losses.  The final 4 spots go to Mader, the California runner-up and #2 prep at Juniors; Noennig, the Wisconsin D1 champ (over Schaefer), then WYT runner-up and non-finalist in Cali; Olatoye, the Ohio D1 and MW MOC runner-up (to Antill), and 4th at NBNO; and Gordon, a 160-footer who was unbeaten in Texas. 

Girls Hammer:  Overwhelmingly dominant season for Showalter

1. Haley Showalter, Valor Christian HS (CO) senior, US#1 194-1
1st NBNO, 1st USA Jr, 1st Pan Am Jr, 1st Chicagoland, 1st Great SW, 1st Landsharks Inv

2. Sabrina Gaitan, Sprayberry HS (GA) senior, US#2 185-3
2nd NBNO, 4th Pan Am Jr, 1st prep all Throw 1 Deep meets

3. Emelda Malm-Annan, Monterey Trail HS (CA) senior, US#3 182-6
1st USA JO(17-18), 1st USA Pacific JO, 1st Golden West, 1st Hamp-Phil, 1st state

4. Courtney Jacobsen, Toll Gate HS (RI) junior, US#4 178-6 (#1 193-10Y)
4th NBNO, 2nd Chicagoland, 2nd Hammerama, 1st New Englands, 3rd state, 2nd K of C Relays

5. Alyssa Wilson, Msgr. Donovan (NJ) soph, US#9 170-3
6th NBNO, 2nd WY Trials, 3rd Chicagoland, 4th NJ Int’l Inv (1st prep), 1st Osprey Open

6. Kaylee Antill, Tri-Valley HS (OH) senior, US#6 172-0
7th NBNO, 4th Chicagoland, 1st John Glenn Inv, 1st state, 1st Kasper Inv

7. Makena Thomas, Narragansett HS (RI) junior, US#10 170-0(#4 181-4Y)
3rd NBNO, 1st Hammerama, 5th Chicagoland, 14th USA Jrs (2nd prep)

8. Carly Timpson, Narragansett HS (RI) senior, 164-6
5th NBNO, 3rd Hammerama, 5th New Englands, 4th state

9. Meagan Molloy, Smithfield HS (RI) junior, 168-9
10th NBNO, 4th New Englands, 3rd USA JO(17-18), 1st state

10. Kamryn Brinson, Marist HS (GA) junior, 168-8 (#3 186-2Y)
15th NBNO, 1st WY Trials, 2nd USA JO(17-18), 2nd CSI

Analysis:  You could hardly have a better season in an event than Showalter had, leading the nation at 194-1 with 3 meets beyond 190 and winning every major available title.  That included defending her Great Southwest, Chicagoland and USA Junior titles, avenging her ’14 NBNO loss to Gaitan, and finishing her career with a Pan Am Juniors triumph.  Gaitan is #2, taking 2nd to Showalter at NBNO this time and 4th for her native Guatemala at Pan Am Jrs – in addition to several strong Throw 1 Deep meet performances.  At #3 is Malm-Annan, a Ghanaian citizen prepping in California.  She set a USA JO(17-18) mark and hit over 180 four times. 

In 4th and topping the typically deep group of Rhode Island throwers was Jacobsen, whose slate was highlighted by 4th at NBNO, 2nd at Chicagoland and the New England title.  It’s rare to escape Rhode Island competition unscathed, but Jacobsen made up for a few losses.  Wilson and Antill – fine hammer throwers despite the event being secondary for them to the shot and discus – respectively, follow in the #5 and #6 spots.  They were 6-7 at NBNO and 3-4 at Chicagoland.  In 7-8 are Narragansett, RI teammates Thomas and Timpson, who both had their best throwing in June and July.  Molloy, meanwhile, was up and down both in spring and summer, but came up big with a PR to win the coveted RI state meet and earn 9th.  The final spot goes to Brinson, who shone brightest at CSI and in the USATF meets.

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