Mikayla Carpenter knew two things heading into the 2018 44th annual girls state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Columbus on Saturday, June 2.
The first was that she had a golden opportunity to inch her way up the standings and land a coveted podium spot, thus earning All-Ohio status. The second was that she had a 40-foot throw in her somewhere.
The Orrville junior came into the competition with a pair of other throwers hovering right around that 39-foot mark, which put them in the 10th-place range in the 16-person field.
All season long Carpenter had been chasing 40 feet, and she figured the state meet was just about as good as anywhere to uncork the throw of her life, at least to date.
After qualifying for the finals with a throw of 38-01, which was the eighth qualifying spot out of nine throwers in the finals, all Carpenter did was go out in her first throw of the final three throws in the finals and let loose with a heave of 40-05.25, a toss which sent her storming past half of the field all the way up to fourth place, where she ended her day.
Her smile on the podium said everything that needed to be said as she accepted her All-Ohio medal.
“Amazing, just amazing, that is about the only way I can sum it up,” Carpenter said as she awaited her medal ceremony. “Coach has told me all season long I should get over 40 feet, and I was able to do that at state, so I am thrilled and very proud that I stepped up and came through when it mattered the most.”
Her PR throw allowed her to enjoy the one thing almost every track and field athlete dreams about, and that is standing on the podium in front of the huge crowd at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to accept the accolades and appreciation of track fans.
Carpenter came into the meet ranked ninth, and she knew she had to deliver something special to move up at least one notch. She fired off a pair of 40-footers in the practice round, so she was feeling it.
Carpenter said when she unleashed her 40-footer in round four, it felt great. She thought it had a shot at clearing 40 feet, but you just never know until it thuds to the earth and makes its mark.
“I let it go, and it really felt like a good throw. Then it landed over that 40-foot mark, and you could see the mark,” Carpenter said. “It struck me right then that I had thrown over 40 finally. I PRed at state and I got my spot on the podium, so it was all good.”
Out of the top-seven throwers, Carpenter is the lone underclassman, so that leaves the field wide open for next season for her to really make an impact. She said that will definitely inspire her to work that much harder to climb the ranks in the standings.
“The door is wide open for an opportunity to do something really awesome,” Carpenter said.
She hopes at this time next season the 40-foot mark is far in the rearview mirror as she continues to move beyond that mark, but for now a 40-footer sounds more than good enough.