Former New Oxford javelin thrower Madi Smith has always had a knack for saving her best performances for the biggest meets.
The last throw of her high school career was a then-personal best 148 feet, 3 inches. So, it should come as no surprise that she put together another masterful performance at the Big Ten Track and Field Championships last weekend. Throwing at the University of Iowa, Smith took second in her main event with a throw of 173 feet, 4 inches, also earning second-team all conference recognition. First went to Nebraska senior Chase Wolinski (180-1).
A year ago Smith also had her biggest throw at the Big Ten meet, placing fifth with a 48.83 meter (160-2) throw. Reached by text message on Tuesday, Smith said the 2018 performance gave her a surge in confidence, but struggling to break 160 this season had her feeling uncertain heading to the Big Ten Championships. Positive reinforcement sessions with a sports psychologists helped her clear the hurdle.
“I entered the meet with a clear mind. Our team was building up the energy and the intensity leading into the meet and I knew I had the support of everyone behind me,” she wrote. “I didn’t set any expectations as far as place or distance. My mind set was that if I show up, do what I’ve been training for all year and have fun, then the distance and the place on the podium will fall into place.”
Penn State’s modern javelin record has been held by Laura Loht since 2014. Loht, now the Penn State track and field team’s director of operations, is still holding on with a 178-6.
“She is super helpful and encouraging with her tips and knowledge of the javelin,” Smith wrote. “She encourages me to go after the school record all the time. It’s hard to believe I’m really only five feet away, but I’m gonna continue to work to achieve my goal.”
Next, Smith heads to Jacksonville, Florida for the Division I East Regional meet held from May 26-28. Four dozen girls compete, one dozen move on to nationals.
“Nationals is the goal for this year,” Smith wrote. “Being an All-American is the long term goal.”
Here are a few other former Times Area athletes having a strong spring.
Steve Heinbaugh — Gettysburg College
The current Fairfield pole vault record holder has added a whole lot to his bag of tricks since moving up the road to Gettysburg College.
On Tuesday, Heinbaugh was named a Centennial Conference first-teamer after becoming the second Bullet to win the decathlon at the Centennial Conference Championships. His score of 5,318 points is the sixth-best mark all-time at Gettysburg.
Heinbaugh was tops in the 400 meter dash (52.39 seconds) the 1,500 meter run (4:35.53) and the pole vault (4.10 meters or 13-5.4 feet), helping him reach the top of the conference in the 10-event contest.
Kate Mowrey — Lebanon Valley
The former Delone Catholic distance runner recently put up the second fastest 3,000-meter steeplechase time in Lebanon Valley history, crossing the line in 11:27.89 for a new personal best.
Olivia Faloon — Lebanon Valley
Gettysburg’s pole vault record holder was awarded the silver medal at the MAC Championships when she nailed a 3.31 meter (10 feet, 10.3 inches) vault that came in second in school history.
Owen Buhr — Lebanon Valley
In the 110-meter hurdles, the former New Oxford hurdler and state qualifier won silver with a time of 15.53 at the MAC championships to qualify for postseason action.
Shelbee Holcomb — Mount St. Mary’s
A former PIAA 2A player of the year from Delone Catholic, Holcomb got her best chance so far to prove what she can do at the collegiate this year with The Mount.
She finished the season with career bests in at-bats (138), hits (51), RBI (21), runs (20), batting average (.370) and on-base percentage (.412) without an increase in strikeouts (11) from last year’s campaign. The former shortstop primarily lined up in right field or as a designated player.
Cassie Rickrode — McDaniel
The former Delone Catholic hurler made an impact for the Green Terror for a third straight season, pitching in a career-best 26 games while matching her top mark with seven complete games.
Following a 10-4 sophomore campaign, Rickrode went 6-8 this season with a bump in ERA, from 2.70 to 3.43, but was still effective. Her strikeout per seven innings ratio also fell slightly, from 4.69 to 3.07
Madeline Yannetti — Messiah
Gettysburg’s record holder in nearly every category finished off a four-year career at Messiah this season with a 3.11 ERA in 87 innings. During a 6-9 season, she struck out 51 batters while allowing 25 walks and gave up only one home run on the campaign.
Ethan Ketterman — Penn Tech
Former Gettysburg second baseman Ethan Ketterman started 23 games for the Wildcats and made a solid impression at third base. He maintained a .304 batting average over 79 at-bats and drove home 23 runs, fourth on the team, despite being eighth in plate appearances.
AJ Cieslinski — Frederick Comm. College
New Oxford’s former ace had a strong first season with Frederick Community College, pitching to an 8-1 record in 10 starts and 12 total appearances, compiling a team-best 62.1 innings pitched. His 1.44 ERA and 8.81 strikeout per nine innings ratio were among the best on the team. He struck out 61 batters while walking four.
Adam Michael can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at @GoodOldTwoNames