South Xtra: South Park grad breaks Big Ten record at Ohio State

COLLEGE TRACK & FIELD


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There has been some confusion as to how far Ohio State University freshman Billy Stanley actually threw the javelin at the recent Big Ten Conference outdoor track and field championships.

It has been reported at 246 feet, 10 inches; he says it was 246-9.75 and that's the distance listed under his university biography.

What is crystal clear, however, is that this South Park High School graduate throws the javelin really far and has not lost since his junior year of high school.

Stanley, who finished second in the javelin at the PIAA track and field championships at the end of his junior year, set the national high school record in the event en route to a PIAA championship his senior year and has done nothing but win and pick up team points for the Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio.

"When you're a javelin thrower and your season starts, it's about halfway through the outdoor season before you start to get a feel for where your javelin throwers are going to be," said Ohio State assistant coach Ross Richardson, who is in charge of the Buckeyes throwers.

"You could certainly tell he was a talented young man and he's been a fantastic competitor this year. I'm impressed with him every week. I think we're starting to get a feel with how good this young man can be in the future."

Stanley competed in his first Big Ten men's outdoor track and field championship May 10-12 at Ohio State's own Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium after a season of victorious throws in various meets.

Among his notables was a victory at the Arkansas Invitational, he improved on his Ohio State record with a throw of 237-3 to win the 47th Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., and he finished first in the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Ariz.

But nothing compared to the Big Ten championships.

"Warming up for the Big Ten meet I got all pumped up on my first couple of warm-up throws and I knew I was good to go so I didn't even take a full approach warm-up throw," Stanley said. "I just went after it with my first throw and it ended up working out for the better."

Throwing in 50-degree weather and 15 mph cross-winds across the javelin sector, Stanley unleashed a toss of 246-10 on his first throw to win the gold medal and set the Big Ten championship and Ohio State records.

"I warmed up with two three-step throws, two short throws, and they ended up going over 220," Stanley said. "I did a little bit of a run-through to my cross overs and it ended up hitting 240, so I didn't even take a full short approach, which is what I normally do in a competition. I just went after it with my first throw."

For his efforts, Stanley, who is 5-10 1/2 and 198 pounds, earned Big Ten men's outdoor track and field freshman of the year.

"He's very talented. He's got a great feel for javelin throwing," Richardson said. "There's kind of a saying that's bounced around a thrower's world ... shot putters are made and javelin throwers are born. I think he's just a born javelin thrower. He's got a great arm and an even better awareness of how to throw."

Apparently Billy isn't the only thrower who was born into the Stanley family. His sister, Sarah, a South Park sophomore, set a school record with a throw of 137-4 in the javelin and finished third in last week's WPIAL championships with a throw of 128-8.

It was Sarah, Billy said, who got him started throwing the javelin when he was 12 years old and she was 9.

"One day my mom drove me after baseball practice to pick my sister up from track practice and I saw her throwing this plastic turbo-javelin. I talked to her that night about what she was doing and the next day I went to practice and started throwing it and I liked it a lot. I ended up competing that first year and I ended up 12th in the nation for 12-year-olds. I just figured if I stuck with it, I could get good."

Good enough to win a Big Ten championship.

Next in line for Stanley is an NCAA championship. Stanley will be competing at the NCAA East Regional meet today through Saturday in Greensboro, N.C., to try to qualify for the national championships June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. He is currently seeded third in the regional meet and must finish in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA championships.

And what about that distance discrepancy in his throw at the Big Ten championships?

"I don't know what the deal with that is," he said with a laugh. "When I threw it, it came up on the screen that the distance was 246-9.75 but when they announced the mark over the loud speaker and when I got my medal they said it was 246-10. I don't know which one is which but I'm pretty sure it's 246-9.75."

For the record ... literally ... it is down as 246-10.

sportscollegenational

Rick Davis: rdavis@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3789.


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