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

by Steve Underwood

The following is the fifth 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 fifth entry in the series, Boys Throws, was preceeded by Girls JumpsGirls Throws, Boys Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15, and Girls Athlete of the Year and overall Top 15.

Biddle consistent; avenges only loss

1. Michael Biddle, Williamsburg HS (PA) senior, US#2 213-10
1st NBNO, 1st Am JavFest, 2nd Chicagoland, 1st AA state, 2nd Penn (1st US prep)

2. Hudson Keffer, Central Kitsap HS (WA) senior, US#4 210-0
5th USA Jrs (1st prep), 1st 3A state, 1st Pasco Inv, 1st Shelton Inv, 1st 3A District

3. Liam Christensen, Academic Magnet (SC) soph, =US#5 209-5 (#1 238-3Y)
2nd Am JavFest, 1st WY Trials, 13th(q) WY Champs, 5th NBNO, 2nd USA JO(17-18)

4. Mike Marsack, Stroudsburg HS (PA) junior, US#3 210-10
2nd NBNO, 1st Chicagoland, 8th Am JavFest, 25th AAA state, 1st Red & Black Inv

5. Cole Sunkel, South Kitsap HS (WA) senior, =US#5 209-5
1st USA JO(17-18), 1st 4A state, 2nd Shelton Inv, 1st Dist III

6. Jeff Ast, Andale HS (KS) senior, US#1 226-2
1st 4A state, 1st Kansas R, 1st Andale Inv, 1st Pre-State

7. Grant Jones, LaSalle College HS (PA) senior, 199-11
3rd NBNO, 1st AAA state, 3rd Chicagoland, 9th Am JavFest, 1st PCL, 7th Penn (5th US prep)

8. Grayson Hill, Cathedral Prep (PA) junior, 200-3
4th NBNO, 4th Chicagoland, 5th Am JavFest, 3rd WY Trials, 5th AAA state, 1st CSI, 1st TSTCA

9. Andrew Manz, North Allegheny HS (PA) senior, 196-5
4th Am JavFest, 7th NBNO, 3rd AAA state, 2nd AAA District 7, 2nd TSTCA

10. William Petersson, Frisco Centennial HS (TX) junior, 198-3 (#2 200-1Y)
3rd USA JO(17-18), 2nd WY Trials, 1st Texas R

Analysis:  Biddle, with five meets at 209 or further, is a clear choice despite being more than a dozen feet off the national lead.  Said national leader – Ast at 226-2 – had just that one meet further than 202 feet and didn’t compete outside of his home state or in the post-season.  Meanwhile, Biddle was unbeaten through his triumphant performance at NBNO.  He was then defeated by Marsack at Chicagoland, but enjoyed sweet redemption with a season-ending victory at the first American JavFest.  Choosing #2 on the list is a challenge; most of the other top contenders met each other multiple times and had their ups and downs.  So while Keffer didn’t throw outside the Northwest, he had half-a-dozen meets over 200 feet and was the top prep at Juniors in 5th place – like Biddle, his consistency is rewarded.

Christensen – one of a few ranked whose state HS association does not contest the jav – earned #3 with his summer.  After a 5th at NBNO, he uncorked massive throws with the lighter Youth jav (700g) to win the WY Trials (224-4) then take 13th (238-3) in the WY Champs qualifying –the latter the best-ever by an American at the meet.  He backed it up with runner-up performances at USA JOs and JavFest.  Marsack had some off days, but was runner-up at NBNO and his PR at Chicagoland made him the only thrower to beat Biddle.  Then in #5 is #2 Evergreen Stater Sunkel, who beat Christensen at JOs and lost only to Keffer.  Ast – a solid 190-200 thrower typically – then takes #6.  Pennsylvanians Jones, Hill and Manz go #7-8-9, with Jones competing very well at NBNO and Chicagoland.  #10 Petersson had a fine trio of big-meet efforts at Texas Relays, WY Trials and JOs.

Shot Put:  Katnik rules 12#, with 6 over 71

1. Matt Katnik, St. John Bosco HS (CA) senior, US#1 72-3 (#2 65-11.75J)
1st state, 4th USA Jrs (2nd prep), 1st Arcadia, 1st Mt SAC, 1st SS Masters, 1st SS D3 Finals

2. Willie Morrison, Leavenworth HS (KS) senior, US#2 70-2.5 (#1 67-9J)
1st NBNO, 1st NBNI, 3rd USA Jrs (1st prep), 1st Great SW, 1st 5A state, 1st Kansas R

3. Adrian Piperi, The Woodlands HS (TX) soph, US#4 66-10 (#1 72-2.25Y)
1st WY Champs, 1st WY Trials, 2nd NBNO, 5th NBNI, 1st 6A state, 1st TX MOC

4. Jordan Geist, Knoch HS (PA) soph, US#3 69-1
1st Chicagoland, 1st Penn R, 4th NBNO, 4th NBNI, 4th WY Trials, 1st AAA state

5. Eric Favors, North Rockland HS (NY) senior, US#5 66-7
3rd NBNO, 2nd NBNI, 2nd Chicagoland, 3rd Penn R, 1st state, 15th USA Jrs

6. Isaiah Rogers, Campbell HS (GA) junior, US#10 63-11.25 (#2 66-4.25Y)
5th NBNO, 6th NBNI, 2nd WY Trials, 10th WY Champs, 1st USA JO(17-18), 1st CSI, 1st 6A state

7. Daniel Guiliani, South Portland HS (ME) junior, US#6 66-5
1st New Englands, 1st Class A state, 1st Vacation Inv, 1st SMAA meets, 1st Dartmouth R(i)

8. Nathan Bultman, West Ranch HS (CA) senior, US#7 64-5
2nd state, 2nd Arcadia, 2nd Mt. SAC, 2nd SS Masters, 1st SS D1 Finals, 1st Mo Greene Inv

9. Rashad Manning, Riverdale Baptist HS (MD) senior, US#11 63-11(i)
3rd NBNI, 5th Penn R (3rd U.S.), 1st Montgomery Inv(i), 1st Private Sch Inv(i)

10. Cole Van Lanen, Bay Port HS (WI) junior, US#9 64-0
1st D1 state, 1st Ashwaubenon Sect, 1st Bay Port Reg, 1st Marinette Inv

Analysis:  These rankings are usually about head-to-head and national (and sometimes international) honors won – but sometimes it has to be about top marks and depth of performances.  That’s what did it for Katnik, as he had 6 meets at 70-11.5 or better – or 6 more than the rest of the country combined.  Also, a slate that includes a state title in California, plus Arcadia and Mt SAC wins isn’t anything to sneeze at.  His lone loss was a tough one – 4th at USA Juniors and 2nd prep behind Morrison – but that wasn’t enough to deny him #1.  Morrison, whose 67-9 for 3rd at Juniors was the furthest throw ever by a prep with the 6kg Junior implement, was a clear choice for 2nd.  He won both NBN titles and was the nation’s only other 70-footer. 

The #3-4 spots go to a pair of sophs.  Geist hit 66 feet indoors, was 4th at NBNI, had a magnificent triumph at Penn, then reached 69-1.  But fellow 10th-grader Piperi exploded in the summer.  He hit 66-10 at runner-up at NBNO (Geist 4th), produced a last-throw triumph at WY Trials, then soared to a World Youth title with an American Youth record 72-2.25 (5kg shot).  The next two spots go to Favors and Rogers, both with consistent bodies of work; Favors especially at the NSAF meets and Rogers joining Piperi in Cali.  At #7 is Guiliani, who improved from 54 feet to 66-5; his lone major was a New Englands victory.  Bultman in 8th was the clear, consistent #2 in the Golden State behind Katnik.  Manning was injured the latter half of outdoor season, but was tremendous through April, highlighted by 3rd at NBNI.  The final spot goes to Wisconsin’s 64-footer Van Lanen.

Boys Discus:  Davis twins go #1-2

1. Carlos Davis, Blue Springs HS (MO) senior, US#1 214-4
1st Great SW, 1st Chicagoland, 1st Kansas R, 1st Class 5 state, 1st Parker Inv

2. Khalil Davis, Blue Springs HS (MO) senior, US#2 205-8
2nd Chicagoland, 3rd Great SW, 3rd Kansas R, 2nd Class 5 state, 1st Sectional

3. Christian Smith, McDonald HS (OH) senior, US#3 203-9
5th NBNO, 1st MW MOC, 1st D3 state, 1st Western Reserve R, 1st Optimist, 1st D3 Reg. 9

4. Lucas Ribiero, Belmont Hill HS (MA) senior, 193-6
1st NBNO, 3rd Chicagoland, 1st NEPSTA D2, 1st ISTL Champs

5. Kenneth Brinson, Marist HS (GA) senior, US#8 195-8
2nd NBNO, 1st Armed Forces Inv, 1st 4A state, 1st 4A Sect B, 4th Taco Bell

6. Ryan Camp, Archer HS (GA) junior, US#7 198-3
1st USA JOs(17-18), 1st CSI, nm NBNO, 1st Taco Bell, 1st 6A state

7. Trevor Detillion, Unioto HS (OH) senior, US#4 203-6
1st Penn R, 2nd MW MOC, 1st D2 state, 8th USA Jrs (1st prep), 1st Mansfield R

8. David Lucas, Warwick HS (PA) senior, US#5 199-7
2nd Penn R, 2nd 3A state, 1st Henderson Inv, 1st District 3-3A, 1st league champ

9. Charles Lenford, Oceanside HS (CA), US#9 195-4
1st state, 1st AAU JOs(17-18), 4th USA JOs, 1st SD Section, 15th Mt SAC

Tie-10. Adrian Piperi, The Woodlands HS (TX) soph, 188-2
3rd NBNO, 1st WY Trials, 6th WY Champs, 1st 6A state, 1st TX MOC, 1st Victor Lopez

Tie-10. Willie Morrison, Leavenworth HS (KS) senior, 193-9
2nd Great SW, 2nd Kansas R, 9th NBNO, 14th USA Jrs, 1st 5A state, 1st Topeka R

Analysis: Chicagoland was the clincher for this event, as twins Carlos and Khalil Davis backed up their season-long form with a 1-2 finish (Carlos defending his 2014 title).  That capped off a superlative campaign for Carlos (only loss was 2nd at sectional to Khalil), who had the year’s furthest throw and also won the Great Southwest showdown.  Khalil was #2 on the performance list and lost only to his brother (several times) and Morrison – who actually beat Khalil twice (GSW and Kansas Relays), but ranks no higher than =#10 due to a rough NBNO and USA Juniors.  Indeed, the NBNO results could not have been further off the form charts.  Just one of the seven 190-footers entered reached even as far as 180 feet (the winner Riberio) and only he and Smith finished in the top 6. 

Smith still earns #3 here, however, as he was otherwise unbeaten with 4 meets beyond 195 and 8 over 190.  Riberio had the stunning upset win at NBNO after his off-the-national-radar prep school season in MA, where he had gone over 190 once.  He was a distant 3rd behind the Davis twins at Chicagoland.  #5 Brinson was also great in the clutch at Greensboro and otherwise in the 180s save for a 195-8 at one of his Throw 1 Deep meets.  Camp is next, having no mark at NBNO, but big wins at USA JOs, CSI and Taco Bell.  Detillion and Lucas had a great 1-2 finish with PRs at Penn, but plateaued a bit beyond that.  Lenford emerged as the California champ.  He had some losses mixed in, but also won AAU JOs.  Finally, Piperi shares #10 with Morrison (see above).  The Texan’s best was “just” 188, but he was 3rd at NBNO and 6th at World Youths. 

Boys Hammer:  Kelly edges teammate Colantonio

1. Adam Kelly, Barrington HS (RI) senior, US#1 245-4 (#2 230-4J)
1st NBNO, 2nd USA Jrs, 5th Pan Am Jrs, 1st Chicagoland, 1st CSI, 2nd state, 1st Sons of Italy

2. Robert Colantonio, Barrington HS (RI) junior, US#2 243-7(#1 256-6Y, #1 232-5J)
2nd NBNO, 1st USA Jrs, 7th Pan Am Jrs, 1st WY Trials, 5th WY Champs, 1st USA JO(17-18)

3. Tyler Merkley, Los Osos HS (CA) senior, US#3 232-3 (#4 211-10J)
6th USA Jrs (3rd prep), 1st state, 1st Oxy Inv, 2nd Ben Brown (1st prep), 1st CSULA Twi

4. Owen Russell, Moses Brown HS (RI) senior, US#5 230-5 (#3 215-8J)
3rd NBNO, 1st New Englands, 3rd NY Relays, 3rd K of C Relays, 1st Falcon Inv

5. Jacob Beene, Gilbert HS (AZ) senior, US#4 231-11 (#5 209-0J)
7th USA Jrs (4th prep), 1st Mesa T-Bird, 1st Grand Canyon

6. Seth Whitener, North Paulding HS (GA) senior, US#6 218-8 (#6 206-3J)
4th NBNO, 2nd Chicagoland, 1st state, 1st Memorial Day, 1st Southern Challenge #4

7. Joshua Hernandez, El Paso Del Valle HS (TX) junior, US#10 211-3 (#3 214-9Y)
2nd USA JO(17-18), 2nd WY Trials, 1st Great SW

8. Kenneth Brinson, Marist HS (GA) senior, US#11 210-10
8th NBNO, 1st Mother’s Day, 1st GA WT champs, 2nd Memorial Day, 2nd Armed Forces

9. Michael Alvernez, Barrington HS (RI) senior, US#12 207-4
5th NBNO, 3rd Chicagoland, 3rd state, 3rd New Englands, 4th NY Relays

10. Jared Briere, Woonsocket HS (RI) soph, 202-8
6th NBNO, 1st USA JO(15-16), 2nd New Englands, 6th state, 2nd Sons of Italy

Analysis:  As is often the case, the nation’s best hammer throwers came out of Rhode Island, with Barrington HS producing the top two for the second straight year.  Kelly closed out a great prep career, again edging younger teammate, Colantonio.  The duo took turns beating each other, but Kelly held the edge and wound up with the year’s top mark – thanks to a late-summer 245-4.  He won NBNO and Chicagoland, and finished ahead of Colantonio at Pan Am Juniors, too.  Colantonio swept the USA Junior, Youth and JO titles, repped Team USA in 5th at the World Youth Champs and won their state meet showdown, too.  A third Barrington thrower, Alvarnez, was 5th at NBNO, 3rd at Chicagoland and takes the #9 spot.

Three others went over 230 feet, nationally, and they were hard to separate.  West Coasters Merkley and Beene were 3-4 on the performance list and finished in that order as the next two preps behind the RI duo at USA Juniors.  Another Rhode Islander, Russell (not from Barrington) was #3 in that hammer-rich state all year and also took that spot at NBNO.  Given the overall slates, it seems fair that he splits Merkley and Beene.  The Throw 1 Deep club out of Georgia, another center of hammer excellence, has the #6 and #8 spots with Whitener and Brinson.  It’s an obvious rank for Whitener, with his US#6 position and big meet record; for Brinson, he didn’t have his best meet at NBNO (8th), but had a better overall season than Greensboro 5-6 finishers Alvarnez and Briere.  Hernandez, out of El Paso, TX, didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but made the most of them at GSW and USATF meets.  Briere is the final Rhode Islander and the only soph on the list.

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