THS sophomore spears top javelin spot at Kansas Relays
Popping knuckles and a stiff neck.
When Tonganoxie High sophomore Roxi Grizzle gets nervous, she starts popping her fingers. She tenses up as well, her neck stiffens from the stress.
Grizzle was uneasy as she prepared for her first throw Friday in the javelin at the 78th annual Kansas Relays.
Grizzle was at center-stage in a meet that rivals the state track meet in magnitude.
The relays were a big deal, and butterflies in Grizzle's stomach knew it.
But with each throw, Grizzle became more relaxed.
Then came her third attempt -- 45.15 meters, as recorded by the Kansas Relays workers. Translated, Grizzle's throw measured 148-1, a personal best for the sophomore who transferred from De Soto last fall. Last year, as a Wildcat, Grizzle finished third at the Relays.
Grizzle said her throw didn't feel any different when the javelin left her hand. However, gone were the stiff neck and the need to pop her fingers.
"I was just relaxed," Grizzle said.
Heading into the last throw in the finals, Tonganoxie had the 1-2 punch in the event -- Grizzle first and teammate Ali Pistora second.
But Independence High's Amber Dunham, in her final throw, soared to second place with a 143-4 launch.
Pistora settled for third with a best throw of 139-10.
THS throwing coach Dave St. Cyr said his athletes' finishes exceeded his goals at the event.
"I was just happy to get in the top six," St. Cyr said.
Next to the state meet, the Kansas Relays arguably is the top track meet in the state. St. Cyr said he likes the Relays because it attracts competitors from all classes -- not just 4A.
After Friday's performances against some of the top throwers in the state, St. Cyr said he hoped people would take notice of THS.
"Hopefully this puts Tonganoxie out there as a throwing school," St. Cyr said.
As for Grizzle's gold medal, she said it was a major achievement, but a state championship would be bigger.
But the sophomore was quick to stress that she's a big fan of the Relays -- and KU.
"I love this meet," Grizzle said. "This is where I want to go to college."
Pistora and Grizzle also competed elsewhere at the Kansas Relays, but did not medal. Pistora finished 19th in the high jump with a 5-0 1/4 height.
Overland Park-St. Thomas Aquinas' Allison Mayfield won the event with a 5-7 1/4 height.
Grizzle competed in the shot put with teammates Sarah Hartshorn and Roni Grizzle.
Hartshorn placed 12th with a 37-11 1/4 throw, Roxi Grizzle 13th at 37-10 3/4 and Roni Grizzle 20th at 35-8.
Jasmine Mosley of Bellevue East near Omaha, Neb., won the meet with a 47-1 3/4 heave.
Also competing at the meet were THS runners Christy Weller and Jennifer Wagner.
Weller competed in the 800, but did not advance to the finals. She finished in 2:39.56 in the prelims.
Wagner had a false start in the 300-meter hurdle prelims and was disqualified.