Alexis McJunkins already had the Licking County League title wrapped up Saturday.
That should have been no surprise with the way Heath owns the throwing events in its league meets. Still, McJunkins had one more throw to put a little icing on the cake.
“I kind of just let loose,” said McJunkins, a junior. “I didn’t really mind if I fouled because I knew I was in first, so I just let it fly.”
McJunkins threw a season-best 38-feet-4.5 in the shot put to win at the LCL meet at Watkins Memorial. She continued a run of incredible dominance in the ring for the Bulldogs.
Even for me, who has covered track in this area since 2005, I had to do a double-take when going through the past results. I knew Heath had won a lot of titles. But from year to year, they happen without much fanfare.
This was McJunkins’ second consecutive league title. Dating back into Heath’s time in the Mid-State League-Ohio Division, the Bulldogs have not lost a shot put title in a league meet since 2006.
“It’s awesome,” McJunkins said. “You would think for a track team you would get the most points with running, and that would be kind of the stars. Having throwers shining on the track team is awesome.”
Licking Valley’s Hannah Gearhart was in the way Thursday or Bri Walsh would have made it seven consecutive discus titles. The run started with Paige Kelley and continued seamlessly with Elizabeth Clippinger and Katie White. The trio had eight state meet appearances among them.
“My freshman year, I was always behind (White) and now it is my time to step up and fill in her shoes,” McJunkins said. “Districts, I want to get 40 or 41. I am going to be working really hard in practice because I know I can do it.”
It is not just the girls. The Heath boys have had a solid run and have only been less successful at the league meet because those standing in the way included Newark Catholic state champion Clay Harris and Licking Valley state qualifier Neil Bailey.
Junior Robbie Brown took advantage of a wide-open field this year to win the shot put title Thursday with a personal-best 45-11.5. He followed up with another personal best of 123-1 to place second in the discus.
“It is a great time to peak,” Brown said. “You have to keep peaking every meet now. It is time to go.”
Twelve months from now it could be easy to forget. Amidst the eye-opening performances of the 2015 phenoms, Heath’s throwers will be doing their thing out of the spotlight.
Just do not be surprised when those Bulldogs are celebrating another league title.
“When I was in middle school, I would throw with Zack Campbell and Zach Satterfield, and I always just looked up to them,” Brown said. “They were throwing it into the mats in the gym and I was like: ‘Wow, they are really throwing it out there.’ Now, I am throwing into the wall, so it is pretty cool. I didn’t know I could get to where I’ve gotten.”