2014 NBNI Previews: Boys and Girls Throws

by Steve Underwood

Second in a series.



(scroll down for boys’ shot put, girls’ weight throw and boys’ weight throw)

National Record:  54-9.5  Michelle Carter  TX  2003
Meet Record:  54-1  Maggie Ewen  MN  2013

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2013 indoor best)
53-8.25  Raven Saunders  14  SC  (=US#1)
53-8.25  Stamatia Scarvelis  14  CA  (=US#1)
52-3.5  Ashlie Blake  14  NV  (US#3)
49-9  Lena Geiger  14  IL  (US#4)
47-7  Jaskiran Dhaliwall  14  NY  (US#5)
46-2.25  McKenzie Kuehlewind  NY  (US#8)

(based on career best, in or out)
53-8.25  Raven Saunders  14  SC
53-8.25  Stamatia Scarvelis  14  CA
52-3.5  Ashlie Blake  14  NV
49-9  Lena Geiger  14  IL
47-7  Jaskiran Dhaliwall  14  NY
46-2.25  McKenzie Kuehlewind  NY
(all 2014 PRs)

2013 NBNI Top 6
(top 6 registered returnees in bold)
1  Maggie Ewen  13  MN  54-1
2  Antonella Taylor  13  MD  46-6.75
3  Briyah Brown  13  NY  44-7
Tara Belinsky  14  NY  44-4.25
5  Alyssa Robinson  13  OH  44-4.25
6  Tamara Ovejera  13  MD  43-8.5
Additional top returnees
Galissa Cause  14  VA  43-5.75
Claudia Arabio  14  MD  42-10.25
10  Nyla Woods  14  GA  42-6
14  Jaskiran Dhaliwall  14  NY  41-7
19  McKenzie Kuehlewind  14  NY  40-8.25

You can call it a Simplot Games rematch (plus a few others) ... or you simply call it potentially the best girls’ prep shot put competition ever – indoors or out.  That’s what Saturday’s showdown is shaping up to be, with the possibility of three or even four girls over 50 for the first time, and possibly three at 52 or better.  There was significant hype as Stamatia Scarvelis, Ashlie Blake, Lena Giger and others competed in Pocatello last month – and the competition lived up to it as Scarvelis (Dos Pueblos, CA senior) threw an =US#1 (=#4 all-time) 53-8.25 and Blake (Liberty, NV senior) US#3 (#10 all-time) 52-3.5 – the first time ever for two 52-footers in meet.  This was very special, but not a “huge” surprise as Scarvelis and Blake had each hit 52 feet in their prolific careers.  You knew they could each be fantastic in 2014 after Blake won World Youth bronze in the Ukraine last June and several weeks later Scarvelis claimed Pan Am Junior gold.  Happily, they’ve continued to progress so far this year.

Co-US#1 Raven Saunders?  Another story ... The Burke, SC senior was a 42-footer in 2012 and then just a 39-footer (but also 136 in the discus) last year – still dominating at the South Carolina small school level.  Then she learned to spin last summer and in December came to the NCRunners Elite Invite and shocked the throws world with a 53-8.25 (the exact mark Scarvelis would match several weeks later).  Saunders has thrown in just one meet since, however, a foul-plagued series at Clemson that included a winning 46-3.25.  If she’s on next Saturday ... then she’s in the mix for the win – and possibly the meet and national records.

Beyond this “big three,” there’s a potential 4th 50-footer in Lena Giger (Highland, IL senior), who has a recent best of 49-9 and was a World Youth finalist with Blake in the Ukraine.  Let that sink in a second ... four 50-footers?  Remember in 2009 when at outdoor nationals we had the clash of 70-footers Mason Finley, Stephen Saenz, Nick Vena and Hayden Baillio?  In 2014, it’s the girls’ turn.


National Record:  77-2.75  Ryan Crouser  OR  2011
Meet Record:  71-0.5  Stephen Saenz  TX  2009

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2013 indoor best)
65-0  Benjamin Bonhurst  14  NY  (US#1)
63-10.75  Devon Patterson  14  NY  (US#2)
63-1.75  Nick Pulli  14  NJ  (US#5)
63-0.5  Eric Favors  14  NY  (US#6)
62-10  Amir Ali Patterson  14  CA  (US#8)
62-3  Logan Bryer  14  OH  (US#10)

(based on career best, in or out)
65-0  Benjamin Bonhurst  14  NY
63-10.75  Devon Patterson  14  NY
63-10.5*  Jack Lembcke  14  SD
63-1.75  Nick Pulli  14  NJ  (US#5)
63-0.5  Eric Favors  14  NY  (US#6)
62-10  Amir Ali Patterson  14  CA  (US#8)
(*=2013 outdoor PR)

2013 NBNI Top 6
(top 5 registered returnees in bold)
1  Brahame Days  13  NJ  66-6
2  Dylan Dyke  13  OH  64-5
3  Aaron Zedella  13  OH  61-11
4  Anthony Taylor  13  LA  60-0.25
5  Andrew Trumbetti  14  59-11.75
Devon Patterson  14  59-4.75
Additional top returnees
Benjamin Bonhurst  14  NY  59-1.25
12  Morgan Shigo  14  PA  56-8
19  Ryan Kim  14  MA  55-2.25
22  Rashad Manning  15  MD  54-8

Armory fans have become a bit spoiled over the last half-dozen years or so, with first Nick Vena and then Braheme Days Jr. bringing high-60s and low-70s shot putting talent in from New Jersey to nationals every year.  The field this year at NBNI has just one thrower as far as 65-feet (on the nose), but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone Sunday from watching what should be a tight and intense competition.

Benjamin Bonhurst (Smithtown West, NY senior) generated some pretty good excitement in December, improving from 61 to 64 feet before the New Year.  But injury issues slowed him for awhile, though he kept winning (with one exception) and throwing over 60.  Then two weeks ago, he got over the hump and extended his US#1 out to 65-0 at the Long Island Elite meet.  Also being the top non-senior at NBNO last spring (and #2 returnee from NBNI 2013), he’s earned the favorite’s role.

The rest of the field isn’t far behind Bonhurst, however, including a quartet of 63-footers ready to strike.  Devon Patterson (Williamsville South, NY senior) has been US#2 much of the year, with a 63-10.75 PR from his section meet.  With a 6th here last year, he’s actually the top returnee, but his latest effort was a somewhat disappointing 3rd at NY state behind Bonhurst and ... Eric Favors (North Rockland, junior), who in turn had a big 63-0.5 PR for 2nd in that meet that vaulted him into NBNI medal contention.  Meanwhile, repping Jersey will be its new state champion Nick Pulli, a West Deptford senior who earlier hit 63-1.75. 

The 4th 63-footer has a completely different storyline.  Coming in all the way from Sioux Falls Roosevelt in South Dakota will be Jack Lembcke, who hasn’t thrown this winter indoors but sports a 63-10.5 outdoor best from 2013 and is thrilled for this opportunity.  And not to be counted out is another traveler from afar, Californian Amir Ali Patterson.  The Crespi senior has made news for losing an eligibility battle with the CIF, but is eligible for this meet.  He has hit 62-10 indoors and repped Team USA at World Youths last year.


National Record:  68-2.5  Shelby Ashe  GA  2011
Meet Record:  68-2.5  Shelby Ashe  GA  2011

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2013 indoor best)
64-11  Gabby Figueroa  14  OH  (US#1)
58-11.5  Kelli Thomas  14  GA  (US#3)
58-8.75  Kamryn Brinson  16  GA  (US#4)
56-8  Alva Hicks  15  RI  (US#5)
55-6.5  Mohogany Baker  14  NC  (US#6)
54-11  Leia Mistowski  14  RI  (US#7)

(based on career best, in or out)
64-11  Gabby Figueroa  14  OH
59-4.75**  Sabrina Gaitan  15  GA
58-11.5  Kelli Thomas  14  GA
58-8.75  Kamryn Brinson  16  GA
58-1.25*  Nyla Woods  14  GA
56-8  Alva Hicks  15  RI
(*=2014 outdoor, **=2013 outdoor)

2013 NBNI Top 6
(top 6 registered returnees in bold)
1  Casidy Callahan  13  GA  58-8
2  Jenessa Jackson  13  GA  56-6.75
Gabby Figueroa  14  OH  56-5.25
4  Marthaline Cooper  13  RI  55-8.25
Kelli Thomas  14  GA  55-5.5
Leia Mistowski  14  RI  53-7.5
Additional top returnees
Mahogany Baker  14  NC  52-2
Nyla Woods  14  GA  50-10.75
Alva Hicks  15  RI  50-4.75

On Feb. 9, Gabby Figueroa threw the girls’ weight 62-8, becoming #3 in history and establishing herself as the favorite to win the national title.  Three weeks later, she improved that to 64-11 – moving up another spot on the all-time list and elevating that favorite status to the “overwhelming” category.  The Austintown Fitch, OH senior now has six feet on the rest of the field as she seeks to improve from 3rd here in 2013.

With US#2 and Simplot champ Haley Showalter not be making the trip from Colorado, the top contender to challenge Figeuroa – or pick up the silver – would be Kelli Thomas (Luella, GA senior).  She’s US#3 at 58-11.5 and the #2 returnee from 2013 (5th).  Beyond that, new soph class record-holder Kamryn Brinson leads a Georgia quartet from the Throw 1 Deep club that hope to rule the medal stand.  Brinson (Marist, GA) threw US#4 58-8.75 for 2nd at Simplot and take down Patricia Gates’ old soph mark.  Sabrina Gaitan (Sprayberry, junior) brings in an outdoor best of 57-4.75 and an even better mark of 59-4.75 from 2013, while Nyla Woods (Grady, senior) has a 58-1.25 outdoor best and Andrea Vahoua (Pope, senior) a 54-5 indoor mark.  Meanwhile, Alva Hicks (Classical, junior) and Leia Mistowski (Narragansett, senior) are the top hopes from another weight throwers’ mecca, Rhode Island, and Mahogany Baker (Berry Tech, senior) returns from North Carolina.  They were 9th, 6th and 7th, respectively, in 2013.  Mistowski was the top RI thrower at 54-11 until Hicks beat her and exploded to 56-8 last weekend at the Weightorama.  Baker has a 55-6.5 best.


National Record:  93-3.25  Conor McCullough  CA  2009
Meet Record:  92-7.5  Conor McCullough  CA  2009

Top 6 Entrants
(based on 2013 indoor best)
79-1.25  Adam Kelly  15  RI  (US#1)
78-5  Daniel Haugh  14  GA  (US#2)
76-6  Logan Bryer  14  OH  (US#3)
72-6.25 Robert Colantonio  16  RI  (US#4)
69-11.75  Thomas Olusegun Vadis  14  RI  (US#5)
69-3.25  Owen Russell  15  RI  (US#8)

(based on career best, in or out)
82-8.25*  Daniel Haugh  14  GA
79-1.25  Adam Kelly  15  RI
76-6  Logan Bryer  14  OH
74-10.5*  Kenneth Brinson  15  GA
72-6.25 Robert Colantonio  16  RI
69-11.75  Thomas Olusegun Vadis  14  RI 
(*=2014 outdoor)

2013 NBNI Top 6
(top 6 registered returnees in bold)
1  Rudy Winkler  13  NY  83-6
2  Aaron Zedella  13  OH  78-2.75
3  Carlos Mangum  13  RI  75-5.5
4  Josh Whitener  13  GA  75-0.5
5  Charles Ionata  13  RI  73-2
Daniel Haugh  14  GA  71-10.25
Additional top returnees
Kenneth Brinson  15  GA  71-4.75
11  Adam Kelly  15  RI  66-9.25
16  Maxfield Lydum  15  OH  64-10
18  Gabriel Arcaro  14  MA  63-0
19  Thomas Olusegun Vadis  14  RI  62-8

One of the meet’s best showdowns should occur when Adam Kelly and Daniel Haugh get in the ring for the boy’s weight throw.  They haven’t met this year and both are unbeaten.  Kelly (Barrington, RI junior) has had the indoor US#1 the majority of the season and currently leads at 79-1.25 (#11 all-time), though Haugh’s US#2 78-5 (#12 all-time) held the advantage for awhile in January.  Haugh (Throw 1 Deep/St. Pius X, GA senior), however, launched an 82-8.25 outdoors that is the best overall throw in the country this winter.  He was the season’s top returnee coming in, both in terms of NBNI (6th last year) and overall, but Kelly (11th in 2013) has reached a level where it looks like whoever has the best day will emerge as the champ.

On the other hand, neither can look past Logan Bryer (Genoa Area, OH senior), who has improved 12 feet this winter up to 76-6.  He hasn’t faced either Kelly or Haugh.  If he can progress a little more and if the top two are off at all, we could see an upset.  Kenneth Brinson (T1D/Marist, GA junior) could move into contention, as well.  His competitive slate has been very limited as he’s also in high school wrestling in the winter, but he’s thrown 74-10.5 outdoors and was 8th here last year (#2 returnee).  A few others to watch include Bobby Colantonio, Kelly’s sophomore teammate at Barrington, and Olusegun Thomas Vadis (Classical, RI senior).  At the Weightarama this past Saturday, Colantonio improved to US#4 72-6.5 – moving to within a few feet of Walter Henning’s 10th-grade HSR (75-0.5) – while Vadis added two feet to his best with US#5 69-11.75, a hair away from 70.

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