Local throwers Trenton Hoffman of Adams Central and Leviticus Land of Heritage finished their stellar high school careers with solid performances in the IHSAA State Track and Field Meet Friday at Indiana University.
Hoffman was seeded 24th out of 29 throwers in the discus but climbed to 18th, despite falling a few feet short of his personal record. He came through with a heave of 150-10 on his third and final throw to leapfrog in the standings over several of his competitors.
Shot putter Land had a similar performance, moving up two places from his seed of 23rd to finish 21st with a toss of 51-00, not far from his huge (almost two feet) PR of 51-11 in last week’s regional.
Hoffman’s first throw was a sub-par 137-8, and his second throw was a foul. “My second one probably would have been farther than my third,” Hoffman said, “but I released it a little too early, so it hit the right side of the net.” Had he not produced a good last throw, he would have finished 26th, beating only three opponents.
Hoffman stayed calm on the crucial third attempt. “I honestly didn’t feel a lot of pressure from anywhere,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I just gotta let this one rip.’”
That’s exactly what he did, and it moved him past eight other throwers.
Though it was his first experience in the state meet, Hoffman took it all in stride. “It didn’t feel any different than a normal meet, except the competition was a lot steeper,” he said. “I did the same thing I’ve done for seven years now, just getting into a ring and spinning a little bit.”
But there were some difficult circumstances to deal with—like the oppressive heat that built up sweat on throwers’ hands. “The heat changes things a lot, for your grip and release,” Hoffman commented.
“It just saps energy,” he added. “That’s why I have an umbrella, because this 90-degree weather, with no breeze, no clouds—yeah, it kills you. I’ve been drinking Gatorade and water since we left Monroe.”
Adams Central throws coach Neil Henning wasn’t surprised that Hoffman came up big on his last throw by not overthinking things. “He did what he needed to do to up his mark on that third throw,” Henning said. “You do all your thinking in practice. Once we get here it’s game time. You’ve put the work in, and you know what to do.”
Seamus Malaski, a junior from Crown Point, won the discus with an outstanding throw of 187-8. Junior Dane Sebert of Eastside, the Carroll Regional champion, was the top finisher from the Fort Wayne area. He took ninth at 166-9.
It was a bit unexpected that Land was at state. Charley Riddle, his Heritage teammate, had beaten him by six feet in the sectional with his school-record effort of 55-11. Adams Central’s Zac Worm (55-3.75) beat him at sectional too. Land nabbed the last regional-qualifying spot with his 49-10.5.
But he shined at the regional with that big PR of 51-11 that beat both Riddle and Wurm and, once again, earned him the last qualifying spot for the next level—state. “I was a little surprised to make it out,” he admitted.
Once he got there, though, he shook off any jitters and threw his 51-footer on his first throw. Like Hoffman, he felt he had an even better second throw—estimated at around 54 feet—but he fouled on the attempt, so it wasn’t measured.
Luke Himes of Heritage Christian, a junior, won the shot put with a heave of 65-1.5. Sebert, in tenth with a 55-5.75, was again the top finisher from the Carroll Regional.
Brownsburg won the team title with 55 points to the 50 of runner-up Carmel. Homestead scored 19 points to finish 11th as the top area team.
The only individual champion from the Carroll Regional was Angola’s Alex Meyer, who won the long jump with a leap of 24-2. Area runners-up were Churubusco’s Riley Buroff (400 meters, 47.22), Homestead’s Jacob Martin (300-meter hurdles, 38.31), and Homestead’s Eli Griffin (pole vault, 15-3).