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French finishes first in javelin at district championship
Far from his farthest throw, Nick French had enough distance to glide to the District 1 title in javelin Friday.
French hurled the javelin 168 feet, 2 inches for the district’s best mark. It was his farthest throw in almost two months and beat his closest competitor, Archbishop Murphy senior Mark Schireman, by almost four feet. The district title toss came on French’s third throw in the preliminary heat. He is the only boy from South Whidbey High School to qualify for the state 2A track and field meet.
“When I looked up and saw it, it was flying straight and it looked good, so I knew it was going to be a good toss,” French said.
“The main goal was to get to state, and that’s all that matters.”
The Falcon sophomore has won the javelin event seven times this year. French’s personal best mark of 178 feet, 3 inches was set March 29 at Sultan High School in a deluge of rain. That one throw has him ranked the second best 2A javelin thrower in Washington behind Michael Johnson of Black Hills High School in Olympia. Johnson’s best throw was recorded at 185 feet, 4 inches.
“Nick, absolutely outstanding effort, absolutely well beyond his grade level and where he is in maturity to do what he needs to do, and had a payoff,” said Falcon throwing coach Jeff Greene. “It’s always good when you have a payoff.”
“We’re not done yet.”
Last year, French finished sixth among 2A javelin throwers with a toss of 160 feet, 11 inches. He has grander aspirations at the state meet May 25-26 at the Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.
“You’ve got to go for first place. In the 180s (feet) would probably do it,” French said.
South Whidbey girls thrower Angelina Berger will join French as the only other Falcon to reach the state finale. Berger, a junior, qualified in the discus Wednesday with a mark of 108 feet, and also qualified in the shot put Friday with a throw of 37 feet, 8.25 inches for a second-place finish.
“I had hurt my leg so I was really nervous to throw shot put,” Berger said.
“I knew I made it after my first couple of throws.”
After her second throw in the discus Wednesday, Berger rolled her ankle. It affected her javelin throws, which she scratched all three attempts on Friday. Berger began spinning into her discus and shot put throws a couple of weeks earlier, and the motion still has her a bit off balance.
“It feels OK, but it feels kind of funny because I got new throwing shoes, too,” she said.
Squalicum junior Gina Flint won the shot put at 45 feet, 7.75 inches. Flint is the top-ranked shot put and discus thrower in 2A, according to www.athletic.net.
Berger is also top-10 among 2A school throwers. She holds the third-best mark in the shot put at 39 feet, 4 inches; the eighth-best distance in the discus at 114 feet, 4 inches; and the third-best toss in javelin at 124 feet, 9 inches. She did not qualify for the state meet in the javelin throw.
The top four finishers in each event at the district meet advance to the state meet.
French will compete in the javelin 10 a.m. Friday, May 25, and Berger will throw the shot put at 4 p.m. The discus is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.