NBNO Previews, Part 2: Boys and Girls Throws

by Steve Underwood


GIRLS’ SHOT PUT: Saunders' amazing year

National Record: 56-8.25, Raven Saunders, SC, 2014
Meet Record: 54-5.25, Michelle Carter, TX, 2003

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 outdoor PR)
1. Raven Saunders, 14, SC, 56-8.25
2. Courtney McCartney, 15, PA, 49-0.25
3. Lloydricia Cameron, 14, FL, 48-4
4. Lena Giger, 14, IL, 48-3 (50-0i)
5. Adriana Brown, 14, IL, 48-2 (48-8.5i in ’13)
6. Edith Svonavec, 15, OH, 47-6

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Maggie Ewen, 13, MN, 54-3.75
2. Ashlie Blake, 14, NV, 51-8.5
3. Lena Giger, 14, IL, 47-7.75
4. Haley Teel, 14, TX, 47-5.75
5. Mariah Davis, 13, MI, 45-10.75
6. Lloydrica Cameron, 14, FL, 45-7.25

Other recent champs
2012: Jess Woodard, 13, NJ, 45-4.5
2011: Tori Bliss, 11, IN, 50-9.5

Analysis:  Ever since her breakout 53-8.25 shot put performance back before Christmas, Raven Saunders – and her emergence into the national limelight – has arguably been the biggest story of the 2013-14 prep track and field season.  The story continued with a mind-blowing 56-7.5 national record on her first throw at New Balance Nationals Indoor, an outdoor national record 56-8.25 at Taco Bell, and six more 50-plus meets.  With her speed, power and uncommon mastery of the spin technique (though she still is sometimes prone to fouling), Saunders has taken the event beyond where most could have imagined.  The Burke, SC senior is the biggest star of the meet and the most overwhelming favorite.

Barring a truly unexpected upset, the battle here will be for 2nd place – and it should be a good one.  The field’s other 50-footer is Lena Giger (Highland, IL senior), who reached that barrier at NBNI in taking 4th.  The 2013 3rd-place finisher needs to find that form again, though, as her outdoor best is 48-3.  Meanwhile, Courtney McCartney (Selinsgrove Area, PA junior) has broken out impressively herself.  She brought a 45-7.25 PR into the outdoor season (state meet; also 7th at NBNI), got into the 46s and 47s in April, then reached a massive PR 49-0.25 in winning state last month.  Two other 48-footers who will undoubted contend (at least for 2nd) are Adriana Brown (Lawrence Central, IN senior) and Lloydricia Cameron (Miami Northwestern, FL senior; 6th in 2013).

BOYS’ SHOT PUT: Demaline, indoor champ Bonhurst to battle

National Record: 81-3.5, Michael Carter, TX, 1979
Meet Record: 71-8.75, Mason Finley, CO, 2009

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 outdoor PR)
1. Nick Demaline, 14, OH, 68-10.5
2. Benjamin Bonhurst, 14, NY, 67-3
3. Eric Favors, 15, NY, 65-5.25
4. Felipe Valencia, 14, TX, 64-6
5. Corey Murphy, 14, NY, 64-1
6. Jon Tharaldsen, 15, ND, 63-4

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Braheme Days, Jr., 13, NJ, 68-6.5
2. Nicholas Ponzio, 13, CA 65-9.75
3. Aaron Zedella, 13, OH, 61-3
4. Cullen Prena, 13, MI, 61-0
5. Andrew Hines, 13, VA, 60-7.25
6. Luke Vaughn, 13, IL, 60-6.75

Other recent champs
2012: Matthew Bell, 12, PA, 61-7
2011: Kyle McKelvey, 11, SD, 68-10.5

Analysis:  His wasn’t quite as huge as Raven Saunders’, but Nick Demaline (Liberty Center, OH senior) also belongs in the category of huge breakout performers in 2014 – with his coming just two weeks ago.  Until his region meet, his shot put PR was 63-8 from indoors.  Then Demaline shocked the throwing world with a 68-10.5 PR that rocketed him into the national lead.  He backed it up pretty well with a 66-3.5 winner at state, a mark only one other thrower has beaten this season.

And ... the above-mentioned thrower would be Ben Bonhurst (Smithtown West, NY senior) – who suddenly has competition in his bid for a nationals sweep.  Bonhurst, 7th in both NBNI and NBNO as a junior, burst into the 63s in December, the 65s in February and went on to the title in New York in March.  Then at his outdoor state meet last week, Bonhurst got another PR, reaching 67-3 – setting up a great battle with the Ohioan.

Four other entries have thrown 63 or better outdoors: Eric Favors (North Rockland, NY junior) at 65-5.25, Felipe Valencia (Palmview, TX senior) at 64-6, Corey Murphy (Longwood, NY senior) at 64-1 and Jon Theraldsen (Bismarck, ND junior) at 63-4.  Favors was 6th at NBNI; Valencia and Theraldsen were both impressive champs at their state meets.  Nick Pulli (West Deptford, NJ senior) is another to watch for with 63-1.75 indoor and 62-10.25 outdoor PRs, as is Murphy’s Longwood, NY teammate Dennis Russell – with a 62-1 indoor PR and 5th at NBNI.

GIRLS’ DISCUS: Big test for new leader

National Record: 198-9, Shelbi Vaughn, TX, 2012
Meet Record: 175-9, Krista Keir, OH, 1997

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
1. Kiana Phelps, 16, IA, 179-7
2. Lloydricia Cameron, 14, FL, 166-8
3. Adriana Brown, 14, IN 164-0 (168-6 in ’13)
4. Raven Saunders, 14, SC, 159-11
5. Bryanna Hames, 14, NC, 159-5
6. Haley Showalter, 15, CO, 155-6

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Maggie Ewen, 13, MN, 166-1
2. Lloydrica Cameron, 14, FL, 153-7
3. Ashlie Blake, 14, NV, 151-3
4. Haley Teel, 14, TX, 140-4
5. Gena Penick, 13, VA 136-10
6. Carter Green, 14, PA, 134-8

Other recent champs
2012: Lauren Lubarski, 12, PA, 147-1
2011: Alex Collatz, 11, CA, 153-2

Analysis:  Calling the girls’ discus field “killer” might be a bit of an understatement.  It features yet another unexpected 2014 breakout performer – and new 10th-grade national record holder – in Iowa super soph Kiana Phelps (Kingsley-Pierson HS), plus two other veteran stars who have thrown 166 or better, and a total of six entries better than 155 feet!  Like Raven Saunders, Phelps is a stunning new girls’ throws star in 2014.  But unlike Saunders, Phelps has yet to back up that effort.  While the 2-time state 2A and Drake Relays champ has been consistent in the 150s – outstanding for a soph by itself – the 179-7 she hit in a May invitational is an outlier at this point.  And she’ll probably need a 170-plus throw to beat Lloydricia Cameron or Adriana Brown.

Cameron (Miami Northwestern, FL senior) is the field’s most decorated veteran performer, with a runner-up finish here last year (and 3rd in 2012) and having made the World Youth finals for Team USA last summer.  Brown (Lawrence Central, IN senior) has three meets over 160 this year and a 168-6 best from 2013.  Both, as mentioned above, are contenders in the shot.  Shot superstar Saunders (see above) is also in the discus, knocking on the door of 160.  So, too, is Bryanna Hames (Myers Park, NC senior), the home state favorite who captured the NC 4A title here last month.  And don’t forget about Haley Showalter (Valor Christian, CO junior), the hammer favorite who will be looking to rebound from an upset loss last weekend at Great Southwest.

BOYS’ DISCUS: Davis twins could spice it up

National Record: 237-6, Ryan Crouser, OR, 2011
Meet Record: 213-4, Glenn DiGiorgio, NJ, 2002

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
*1. Carlos Davis, 14, MO, 212-5
2. Daniel Haugh, 14, GA, 204-1
3. Matthew Zajac, 14, VA, 203-9
*4. Khalil Davis, 14, MO, 198-5
5. Max Adams, 14, PA, 198-3
6. Richard Delphin, 14, GA, 189-7
* hoped for last-minute entries

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. James Plummer, 13, NJ, 197-0
2. Jacob Patrick, 13, MI, 196-5
3. Evan Arnott, 13, PA, 195-10
4. Ryan Njegovan, 13, IL, 187-4
5. Mark Guffin, 13, AR, 187-3
6. Luke Vaughn, 13, IL, 186-10

Other recent champs
2012: Sam Mattis, 12, NJ, 203-2
2011: Sam Mattis, 12, NJ, 197-4

Analysis:  As of today (Wednesday), there were a few tentative entries in this event that, if completed, could take the boys’ discus from very good to great – and from having three of the nation’s seven 198-footers to having five.  Those entries would be the Davis twinsCarlos and Khalil – of Blue Springs HS in Missouri.  An 18-foot PR at his 4A state meet propelled Carlos into the national lead at 212-5.  This was, surprisingly, despite wrist problems the Nebraska signee says are bothering him.  And that was part of the reason why that Davis was 5th behind winner Kord Ferguson at Great Southwest, while the other Davis – Khalil – was 2nd.

On the other hand, a 3-way battle between confirmed entries Daniel Haugh, Matt Zajac and Max Adams would be pretty darn good in itself.  Haugh (St. Pius X, GA senior), the national hammer leader and meet favorite there, recently nailed his first 200-footer at the Southern Challenge #3.  Zajac (E.C. Glass, VA senior) had a great achievement in April with his first 200-footer and the Penn Relays title, then improved to 203-9 at his district meet.  Adams (Hempfield Area, PA senior) notched his 198-3 PR while winning his state AAA crown.  All three are consistent performers who should make for a great battle around the 200-foot mark.  Whether we’ll have two more to compete with them is the question.

GIRLS’ JAVELIN: NSAF Project Javelin throwers and Kearney should light it up

National Record: 181-2, Haley Crouser, OR, 2012
Meet Record: 165-1, Hannah Carson, AZ, 2011

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
1. Katelyn Gochenour, 16, IA, 167-0
2. Gabrielle Kearney, 15, OR, 166-0
3. Chrissy Glasmann, 15, UT, 160-6
4. Tairyn Montgomery, 16, CA, 149-4 (155-1 in ’13)
5. Kristen Clark, 14, LA, 148-2
6. Sophia Rivera, 16, MO, 147-0

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Megan Glasmann, 13, UT, 159-1
2. Sarah Firestone, 13, PA, 150-5
3. Katelyn Gochenour, 16, IA, 145-10
4. Lisa Sesink-Clee, 13, NJ, 139-7
5. Kristen Clark, 14, LA, 139-5
6. Ellie Gravitte, 13, CT, 138-6

Other recent champs
2012: Shauntierah Douglas, 12, NJ, 148-7
2011: Hannah Carson, 11, AZ, 165-1

Analysis:  The presence of the Team NSAF Project Javelin’s six entrants – all between 147 and 167 feet – is enough to make this a great competition.  Add in Oregon’s fast rising star junior Gabrielle Kearney (Roseburg HS) and you really have something special.  The NSAF’s Katelyn Gochenour (Marian, NE soph) is US#1 at 167-0 (from March), but in the few jav competitions she’s been able to get into (not an event in Nebraska), the 160 barrier has proven elusive.  She was 2nd at Great Southwest last weekend.  Kearney in the course of a month went from being a 144-footer to a 166-footer, winning the 6A state title.  But she hasn’t competed at this level since becoming an elite.

The other five NSAF throwers will likely battle for the top awards, too.  The big question mark is Emma Fitzgerald (Thayer Acad., MA soph).  After winning the Youth Olympic Trials in early April, throwing 168-2 with the lighter 500k jav, she was injured and is attempting to come back this week.  She hit 149-5 last year, but was clearly in around 160-foot shape for the heavier jav when she won the Trials.  Meanwhile, Chrissy Glasmann (Park City, UT junior) has hit 160-6 – early in the season, as well.  She had another meet over 151 feet and was 3rd at GSW.  Her now-graduated sister Megan won last year’s NBNO title and went on to become the Pan Am Junior champ with a US#2 all-time 176-8. With limited opportunities this year, Tairyn Montgomery (Redondo Beach, CA soph) has thrown 149-4, but hit 155-1 last year in beating Fitzgerald and Gochenour at JOs. Kirsten Clark (Ruston, LA senior) at 148-2 and Sophia Rivera (Brentwood, MO soph) at 147-0 are both seeking to break the 150-foot barrier and were 6th and 7th at GSW.  Gochenour and Clark were 3rd and 5th here last year.

BOYS’ JAVELIN: East meets West

National Record: 255-4, Sam Crouser, OR, 2010
Meet Record: 239-9, Troy Burkholder, PA, 1995

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
1. Curtis Thompson, 14, NJ, 224-10
2. John Nizich, 14, OR, 222-9
3. Chris Mirabelli, 14, NJ, 216-6
4. Todd Ogden, 14, MT, 215-0
5. Nick Solfanelli, 15, PA, 207-7
5. Seth Zuidema, 14, NJ, 207-7

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Justin Carter, 13, AL, 212-7
2. Sam Hardin, 13, AL, 206-2
3. Curtis Thompson, 14, NJ, 203-6
4. Chris Mirabelli, 14, NJ, 201-0
5. Anthony Galantini, 13, PA, 199-7
6. Luke Smorey, 14, PA, 195-3

Other recent champs
2012: Michael Shuey, 12, PA, 194-5
2011: Dean Sullivan, 11, NJ, 217-9

Analysis:  With three of the four throwers this year between 215 and 225 feet – and six of the nation’s top nine (207-plus) – this is setting up as a great competition.  There’s also a bit of an East vs. West thing at the top level, with four from New Jersey and Pennsylvania battling a pair from Washington and Montana.  Curtis Thompson (Florence Twp, NJ senior), 3rd here last year, created excitement and drama when at the NJ Meet of Champs he set a state record and US#1 224-10.  That was the 3rd career 220-footer for the Penn Relays runner-up.  Meanwhile, John Nizich (Central Catholic, OR senior) has been 218 or better thrice, including his US#2 222-9.

Thompson’s top Jersey rival, Chris Mirabelli (Holy Cross senior), has hit 216-6 and was 4th at NBNO last year.  Then there’s the NSAF Project Javelin’s Todd Ogden (Glacier, MT senior), who is on a roll with a series of meets that have topped out at 215-0.  Two others with matching 207-7 PRs are in the mix, too, with Seth Zuidema (Midland Park, NJ senior) and Nick Solfanelli (Scranton Prep, PA junior).  Also lookout for Mike Brazzel (North Arlington, NJ senior) who PR’d at 206-1 for 3rd in the NJ MOC, and Ogden’s NSAF teammate Trevor Danielson (Newberg, OR senior) – who has a 196-0 best this year, but threw 206-0 last year.

GIRLS’ HAMMER: Everyone's here

National Record: 214-4, Shelby Ashe, GA, 2010
Meet Record: 202-4, Shelby Ashe, GA, 2011

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
1. Haley Showalter, 15, CO, 193-4
2. Sabrina Gaitan, 15, GA, 187-7 (192-5 in ’13)
3. Lena Giger, 14, IL, 181-0
4. Nyla Woods, 14, GA, 180-4
5. Leia Mistowski, 14, RI, 175-3
6. Kelli Thomas, 14, GA, 175-2 (182-1 in ’13)

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Jennifer Slagus, 13, PA, 167-5
2. Gabrielle Figueroa, 14, OH, 166-4
3. Kelli Thomas, 14, GA, 164-9
4. Josie Hardin, 13, GA, 163-4
5. Casidy Callahan, 13, GA, 162-6
6. Leia Mistowski, 14, RI, 158-5

Other recent champs
2012: Avana Story, 12, GA, 165-3
2011: Shelby Ashe, 11, GA, 202-4

Analysis:  Last weekend at the Great Southwest Classic, Haley Showalter (Valor Christian, CO junior) really upped the ante with her 193-4 PR, retaking the US#1 and moving to #8 all-time.  We’ve seen her succeed against some of the best from the Throw 1 Deep club in Georgia and others from around the country not only at GSW, but also at the Youth Olympic Trials and Simplot (indoor weight).  But this is her first New Balance Nationals and the T1D standouts have had great success here over the years.

Fronting Coach Mike Judge’s crew from the Marietta, GA area are Sabrina Gaitan (Sprayberry junior), Nyla Woods (Grady senior) and Kamryn Brinson (Marist soph).  Gaitan is US#2 now after holding the US#1 with a 187-7.  Woods, the NBNI weight runner-up, is at 180-4 and Brinson is at 167-4 – but with a load of talent and potential after a soph-class national weight record indoors.  Also from Georgia is Kelli Thomas (Luella senior), the runner-up at GSW last weekend, holder of a 175-2 PR, and 3rd here last year.

And though she’s “only” US#8, don’t forget about Gabby Figueroa.  The Austintown Fitch OH senior won the NBNI weight throw and was also 2nd here last year behind now-graduated Jennifer Slagus.  Rhode Island has two 170-footers in Leia Mistowski (Narragansett senior) at 175-3 and Alva Hicks (Classical junior) at 172-1.  Then there’s Lena Giger (Highland, IL senior), the 50-foot putter who’s been making big progress with the ball and chain in recent weeks and suddenly is at 181-0.  It’s really not a stretch to say any of these eight could win it ... and the fact that the country’s #1-#8 hammer throwers will be here is pretty darn impressive.

BOYS’ HAMMER: Haugh should shine

National Record: 260-5, Rudy Winkler, NY, 2013
Meet Record: 251-8, Rudy Winkler, NY, 2013

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2014 PR)
1. Daniel Haugh, 14, GA, 235-4 (235-11 in ’13)
2. Colin Minor, 14, NC, 229-6
3. Robert Colantonio, 16, RI, 228-0
4. Adam Kelly, 15, RI, 223-5
5. Sean Ryan, 14, NY, 218-8
6. Owen Russell, 15, MA, 215-10

2013 NBNO Top 6
(entered returnees in bold)
1. Rudy Winkler, 13, NY, 251-8
2. Charles Ionata, 13, RI, 219-6
3. Josh Whitener, 13, GA, 213-7
4. Colin Minor, 14, NC, 212-3
5. Brendan Duncan, 13, IL, 211-8
6. Clarence Gallop, 13, RI, 210-6

Other recent champs
2012: Joe Velez, 12, RI, 207-3
2011: Rudy Winkler, 13, 214-7

Analysis:  The boys’ hammer is almost as loaded as the girls’ event, with the top four and seven of the top 10 coming to Greensboro.  Daniel Haugh (St. Pius X, GA senior) was a 235-11 thrower last year, but only 10th at NBNO; this year, he’s at 235-4 but his experience and consistency now make him the clear favorite.  Also 2nd at this year’s NBNI weight throw, he’s the top guy from Throw 1 Deep’s club.  The top returnee from last year’s meet is Colin Minor (South Brunswick, NC senior), who was 4th in 2013 and has a brand new US#2 229-6 PR from last weekend.  Minor repped Team USA at World Youths last summer.

From Rhode Island comes NBNI weight champ Adam Kelly (Barrington junior) at 223-5, but even longer this spring from there has been his super soph teammate Bobby Colantonio, who sports a US#3 228-0 best.  Only former HSR-holder Conor McCullough has thrown further as a 10th-grader.  Still, both are clearly in contention.  Knocking on the door of 220 feet is New York’s best, Sean Ryan (Babylon senior), after a 218-8 to win Eastern States.  Also in the mid-210s is Owen Russell (Moses Brown, RI junior) at 215-10 and Throw 1 Deep’s Kenneth Brinson (Marist, GA junior) at 214-0.

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