Several days ago, I did a preview of Arizona throws, forgetting that Arizona added the javelin as a state event back in was it 2018?
So, today I'm fixing that problem. It won't be the last mistake I make, but I do aim to make corrections when I find out about them.
The javelin is unquestionably among the most exciting of track and field events--a little bit of speed, a little bit of footwork, a whole lot of technique, and some basic arm strength as well. It draws from the broadest spectrum of athletes of any high school track and field event. It's just a shame that less than half of the states sanction it.
It's still a new-ish event in Arizona, but there's getting to be enough data to make some reasonable guesses at what's ahead of us in this event.
For the girls, a whole lot of eyes are on the young lady in the cover photo for this article--Makayla Hunter of Chandler. For two years running, she's had the best toss in Arizona. The 140s are clearly within her range, but perhaps this is the year she unleashes to the 150s or 160s?
She won't be alone, competitively speaking. In the opening weekend of action for this season, Basha's Gabriella Garcia has already gone deep to the tune of 140-3. Garcia is a freshman and a completely new face on the Arizona high school scene. Watch closely what happens here.
Some others who aim to have a spear in the running include Perry's Makayla Long and Sabino's Jade Kwinn. Both were around 140 in limited opportunities last year. Jayden James, now of Basha (transferred in from Perry), had some promising throws as a sophomore but comes into her senior year as a bit of an unknown. She hasn't stuck one out near 140 yet, but she has a history--now slightly dated--that suggests that kind of mark could be in range.
And, honestly, there's not a lot of hard evidence anyone else is ready to go deep enough to join the hunt for top billing.
Among the boys, clear-cut leaders are more difficult to identity as this time. Relying on 2019 data for freshmen and sophomores finds six guys who had at least one throw beyond 160. Those were, in order, Amar Elmore (Chandler), Casey Shull (Queen Creek), Jayce Knutsen (Casteel), Jake Railey (Shadow Ridge), Ammon Allen (Highland), and Porter Sweet (Fountain Hills).
2020 data is more difficult to come by, but perhaps more telling. Knutsen, Shull, and Elmore were beyond 170 in limited opportunities. Sweet and Railey were still within the range of their 2019 throws, and Nathan Woodburne of Basha threw his hat into the ring of recognition with a 169-4 before his season ran out of time.
On opening weekend this year, Shull was once again out beyond 170.
That makes Shull at least a reasonable contender for the title of top javelin thrower in Arizona this spring. 170-something isn't going to win it (and shouldn't win it, in any case), but we'll be narrowing down the crowd of top contenders all spring long. Along with the narrowing, we'll be adding a name here and there as well. We just don't know what those names are yet.
Links to other articles in series: