Senior year of high school brings plenty of new tasks and responsibilities to the average high schooler.
College applications and big tests often take up a lot of time. If there’s athletics, add the obligations of daily practices and games.
Pine View track and field senior Neitana Leung Choi adds another responsibility to the list: coaching.
Leung Choi is the de-facto (not official) javelin “coach” for the Panthers this season after head coach Dave Holt couldn’t find anyone to replace either of the last two javelin coaches.
On top of that, Leung Choi has transformed into one of the state’s best javelin throwers and coaching is one of the reasons he’s been able to do that.
“He’s really coming out of his shell, but I think the success and the opportunity to grab the younger kids and teach them has helped him a lot,” Holt said.
Leung Choi has one of the best throws in the state this season at 163-feet-11-inches, set at the Pine View Invitational last weekend where he also won first place in the event.
Two weeks earlier at the Hurricane Invitational, he threw 159-feet-11-inches, which was better than his best throw all of last season and which also won first at the event.
Last season, Holt says Leung Choi struggled with consistency and was hardly on the radar at all last season. He isn’t the prototypical get-in-your-face-and-spit type coach either.
“I’ve had him in class, he’s really soft-spoken and just hangs back,” Holt said. “But now he’s really taken the lead and it’s really neat to see this quiet, reserved kid find his niche and go for it.”
Leung Choi decided the possibility of getting a track scholarship to college motivated him to get better this year.
He took a javelin home after football season and periodically threw at Riverside Elementary, measuring distance with his foot.
Leung Choi started improving, but also turned to a source where many people turn to for advice or tutorials for everyday situations: YouTube.
Specifically, he looks at Kenyan javelin thrower Julius Yego, the current African record holder for the javelin throw at 92.72 meters, which is roughly 101 yards.
Yego coincidentally learned how to throw the javelin by watching YouTube videos of javelin legends.
He rose to fame when he won the gold medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Yego was also without a coach for a significant amount of time, which is another parallel that can be drawn between him and Leung Choi.
Despite not having a technical coach, Leung Choi gets plenty of advice elsewhere.
“Usually at meets some of the other javelin coaches, who threw in college, help me a lot with my form because they notice some things,” Leung Choi said.
Both of the previous PV javelin coaches, Stephanie Rimmasch and Trevor Thompson, both taught Leung Choi something unique.
Thompson brought enthusiasm and still does whenever Holt calls him to tell him how Leung Choi did. Thompson focused on Leung Choi’s throwing technique.
Rimmasch, who Leung Choi says was straightforward and more like a military general, told him to set a target downfield when he throws.
“You don’t keep your eyes off it,” Leung Choi said.
There’s also his mom Shannon, who he says gave him a piece of advice he regularly uses.
“When you’re teaching other people you’re also kinda teaching yourself too,” he said. “That’s the benefit (of coaching) that I see, and I don’t see any disadvantages, besides a lot of (the other javelin throwers) coming to practice late.”