James Laughlin repeats shot put, discus state titles
LAS VEGAS, Nev. ” Barring an untimely injury or last-minute kidnapping, North Tahoe senior James Laughlin had the shot put and discus titles in the bag before the 2A state championship ever began.
Not surprisingly, the Lakers’ big man successfully defended his state title in both events ” and he did so by a matter of feet, not inches.
Laughlin, at 6 foot 4 and well over 200 pounds, won the shot put with a throw of 49 feet, 4.25 inches on Friday. He then blew away the field in Saturday’s discus competition with a toss of 144 feet, 9 inches.
“He was disappointed in the shot because he wanted to go farther. His goal was to break the school record,” said North Tahoe head coach Skip Piechocinski. “But he won. He’s the state champ.”
While the throws did not eclipse those of Laker record-holder Joey Lochridge ” and were short of Laughlin’s own personal-best marks ” he easily out-threw runner-up Fritz Knight of Battle Mountain in both events.
Particularly in the discus, as Knight’s best throw measured just over 135 feet. Knight was about 2 feet short of Laughlin’s shot put mark, recording a second-place throw of 47-04.75.
Last year at state Laughlin threw the discus 156 feet, 3.5 inches for a personal best, while at zones on May 16 he set a personal-best mark of 50 feet, 6 inches. Joey Lochridge, a 1999 grad, holds the school records at 54 feet, 7 inches in the shot put and 175 feet, 9 inches in the discus.
In the girls’ field events, North Tahoe junior Kea Jolicoeur took second place in the shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 3 inches ” about a foot short of Battle Mountain winner Lexy Bunch’s 34-04.
“She gutted it out on the last throw. She’s a competitor,” Piechocinski said, adding that Jolicoeur competed with an injured wrist and thumb.
Teammate Amy Leininger narrowly missed earning a medal in the discus, as she placed fifth with a throw of 89 feet, 3 inches. Only the top four placers earn medals. Bunch, the shot put winner from Battle Mountain, took the title with a throw of 112-07.
The Laker girls’ 4×200 relay team of Keely Marple, Sage Clark, Taylor Pasvantis and Heidi Schroepfer raced to a second-place finish with a time of 1:55.57. Incline, which won the girls state championship as a team, took first in 1:54.70.
The same North Tahoe girls placed fifth in the 4×100, finishing with a time of 54.90 to Battle Mountain’s win in 52.31.
Individually, North Tahoe junior Maiya Greenwood earned a fourth-place medal in the 800-meter run posting a time of 2:37.73. Mariah Gramolini of Silver Stage won in 2:18.53.
And in the boys’ 3,200 (2-mile), Laker sophomores Carson Clark and Hugo finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 10:57.20 and 11:04.15. Incline’s Mike Sunseri won the race easily in 9:54.21.
North Tahoe’s boys placed eighth out of 12 teams with 29 points. Rite of Passage’s boys won with 151 points.
The Lakers girls were ninth out of 11 teams with 29 points, while Incline’s girls won with 119 points.
“I thought we did great,” Piechocinski said. “Out of 26 kids on the team, 10 qualified for state and eight medaled ” and the ones who didn’t (were close).
“So you can’t ask for much more than that.”
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