‘You have to stay technical’: QHS throwers learning to compete in javelin


Quincy High School's Xander Colombo threw the javelin for the first time in competition during last week's Mark Twain/Becky Thatcher Relays in Hannibal, Mo. | Shane Hulsey photo

QUINCY — Prior to last Tuesday’s Mark Twain/Becky Thatcher Relays at Hannibal’s Porter Stadium, Quincy High School junior Xander Colombo could count on one hand the amount of times he had thrown a javelin.

“That was only my third or fourth time throwing this thing,” said Colombo, holding the javelin in his left hand.

Still, he’s already the school record holder. Colombo threw 26.38 meters in the first official event any of the Blue Devils ever had competed in the javelin.

“I like this a lot,” Colombo said.

Four QHS track athletes — Colombo, junior Bailey Schinderling and freshmen Amari Hetzler and Kennedi Bradshaw — comprise the school’s first group of throwers.

“It’s amazing how much interest there is in it already,” Schinderling said.

Schinderling, a discus and shot putter and former baseball player, said he and the other throwers have had to navigate a steep learning curve in a short time.

“You’ve got to learn everything and start from the basics, work yourself up like you’re a kindergartener again,” he said. “I came into this thinking I’m just going to throw this like a baseball, but it’s much different. It’s a lot more like our discus and shot put throws. You have to stay technical, and you have to stay focused.”

The team only had three weeks of practice with other equipment and one week of preparation with the javelins they used last Tuesday. The Blue Devils hosted a mock meet April 24 to determine which throwers would get to compete at the Mark Twain/Becky Thatcher Relays.

“We had to start from ground zero,” Blue Devils throwing coach Tony Agrimonti said. “We had to see what people were capable of in a competition-like setting.”

Hetzler and Bradshaw emerged from this mock meet as the two girls entries for the Blue Devils. Hetzler, who finished 11th out of 17 throwers at Hannibal, said the nerves were flowing until she admittedly surprised herself with her performance.

“I did a lot better than I thought I would,” she said. “I’m more excited than I was last week for sure because I think javelin is something a lot of people can do and improve at.”

Bradshaw, who finished 14th, believes javelin is a welcome addition.

“I definitely think it could grow if word spreads to other people,” she said. “I think a lot of people could take interest in it if they heard about it.”

Debuting at a high-level meet is something special, too.

“It’s like a once-in-a-lifetime experience because you can’t do it everywhere,” Bradshaw said.

High school track meets held in the state of Illinois do not feature the javelin throw. Such has been the case since 1940, the last time the javelin was contested at the IHSA state track and field hampionships. The girls state championship has never featured the javelin.

“I would love to see Illinois adopt it,” Agrimonti said. “I’m not going to hold my breath, but it’s really fun to try something new.”

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles