VonLintel's season going up and down in Victoria
Published on -5/4/2012, 10:17 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
VICTORIA -- Victoria High School senior thrower Zach VonLintel describes this season as a "roller-coaster." On his first throw of season at the Alex Francis Classic at Fort Hays State University, VonLintel threw 161 feet, 6 inches in the javelin, still his personal best.
In midseason, VonLintel, who competes in all three throwing disciplines, didn't place at some meets.
"It's fluctuated," he said. "It's gone up and then down and up and down."
He and the rest of the seniors have had inconsistent practices and meets in the last week and a half. When the Goldsmith Relays in WaKeeney was postponed from Friday to Monday because of weather, the Knight seniors couldn't attend because of a scheduling conflict.
"You have your good days and you have your bad days, but you keep fighting through it," he said.
"He started out the year really well at the Fort Hays meet and he is kind of working his way back up to there," coach Randy Stanley added.
On Thursday, VonLintel set a new personal best in the shot put, didn't throw well in the discus and threw around his season average in the javelin at the Tony 'Red' Pfeifer Invitational at Victoria.
One of the few area throwers to compete in the three events, he finished second in the shot put (44-2), third in javelin (142-9) and eighth in discus (110-4).
"I have gotten used to it," he said of all three. "It's fairly difficult just because you get yourself psyched up so much to do good in one. Then, if you have a bad day in one, it could potentially make you have a bad day in your other events if you don't let go and focus on your next event. ... But I like it just because I like to throw and I love track."
Victoria finished third on the boys' side with 94 points and La Crosse won with 167.5 points. For the girls, WaKeeney-Trego took first with 129 points and Victoria was fifth with 77.
Like many Knights, VonLintel is on the bubble to qualify for state in two weeks at the Class 1A regional at Fort Hays' Lewis Field Stadium. His season-bests rank in the top-six in the regional.
"He is going to have to have a very good day and he can make it, but he has to throw well," Stanley said.
However, in javelin, he has had trouble coming within 15 feet of the season-opening mark. Because of the regional's strength in javelin, VonLintel said he will have to throw better than 160 to qualify for state. VonLintel took 14th in 1A javelin last year.
"I didn't expect anything and I was just throwing as free as someone can throw," he said. "It's just everything came together at one time. It's just that I have been trying too hard lately. Just kind of relax and start throwing better."
VonLintel has tweaked his javelin recently because his throws have been off and he scratched often. He has moved back about three feet. In the shot put, he changed his glide a little bit and rebounded after his tough performance in discus.
"Having a bad day in discus, I was a little bit angry," he said. "I decided to take it out in shot and it ended up helping me quite a bit."
Braun moving up in ranks
Senior Amanda Braun qualified in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays last season and set a goal with senior Kaley Goetz -- who also runs on the relays -- to reach state in all three sports. In volleyball, Victoria fell a match short, but the Knights broke through in basketball for the first time in 20 years.
In track, sophomore Kristin Huser (foot), a key member of the relays, has been out since April 10 and didn't run Thursday. The relays are still well off the pace to qualify for state.
Braun hurdled as a freshman, but had to stop because she had some hip problems. Braun was talking about hurdles in practice one day and realized she missed the event. Stanley heard Braun and asked if she wanted to try them.
"She is very raw at running the intermediates," Stanley said. "She has only done it (four) times, but she has knocked her time down every single time."
She tried them and now could qualify in the 300-meter hurdles and long jump. She set a personal best in the long jump (15-6) and hurdles (49.96) and won both events Thursday. Both marks are usually state-caliber. She broke 50 seconds for the first time and had a new personal best in long jump by three inches.
"It just kind of came out of the blue today," Braun said of jumping. "My first three jumps were awful, I am just going to say that. I said, 'Well, I have one left, I have nothing to lose. I am just going to run it.' Then, I ran it and it happened."
In the 1,600-meter relay, Victoria was second in 4:36.90. The Knights finished third in the 3,200-meter relay in 11:54.84. Last year, Victoria ran 4:24 and 10:44 at state in the relays.
"It's been really, really hard without Kristin," Braun said. "We just haven't really found a replacement in the 4x8 at all, and I don't know what is going to happen this year with it. ... We have to pull out a pretty big PR to qualify."
Keeley impressive in javelin
La Crosse junior Kip Keeley, a standout football and basketball player, took up the javelin this season and now has the area's best mark at 182-1. He won the javelin Thursday with a toss of 177-9. Keeley's teammate, senior Dylan Engel, one of the state's top javelin throwers and a Dodge City Community College track signee, has worked with Keeley. Engel hasn't competed in about a month with an arm injury.
"Every week I am still learning," he said. "I have not got it down yet. Dylan, he kind of really showed me a lot. I have changed my style on my throw, how I hold it. Dylan taught me that. That's what has really increased my throws. I am actually getting it to start spinning now."