By BRIAN JENNINGS
Amanda Howe represented Southington in the shot put as the only Knight to advance to the New England Championship, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, MA on Saturday, March 3.
After taking 15th with a distance of 37’3” at last year’s regional championship, Howe finished as runner-up to Cameron Garabian (43’7.75”) of Seekonk, Mass. with a personal best throw of 43’5” this time around.
“She was pretty calm with a little bit of nerves going into it, but I think it helped that she wasn’t the number one seed,” Southington coach Connor Green. “There were a couple of girls that were seeded ahead of her, not that she went in under the radar because everyone knows who she is.”
Green said that the biggest difference separating Howe from the New England shot put title was the fact that Garabian threw over 42 feet the entire meet.
“She (Garabian) was the favorite going into it and is another very consistent thrower,” said Green. “I think anyone in the top five definitely had an opportunity to get that, but basically since February started, she hasn’t thrown under 42 feet.”
Howe’s heave of 43’5” came on her final attempt to edge Tiana Bazie (42’4.5”) of Dennis-Yarmouth, Mass., and it also came less than a foot within the school record (44’2”) that was set by Cherraine Davis during the 2011-12 season. However, Green said that he wasn’t even thinking about Davis’ record at the time.
“She’ll always deny it, but this is a pretty stellar event for her,” said Green. “For her to finish 15th last year and second this year shows that she has really put in a lot of work this season.”
Green said that one of the biggest things for Howe was finally getting comfortable and consistent. She threw over 40 feet in her final eight meets of the season.
“She’s starting to get to the point where everything comes together,” said Green. “Last year, she threw 39 feet and was right around the mid 39s, more consistently in the 37s. For this season, she didn’t get over 40 only maybe once or twice in competition, and that was pretty early in the season.”
Howe fouled on her first throw and threw over 40 feet on her second throw, which Green said would have easily made the final no matter what. Her last throw landed at 39 feet and some change.
“She was a little bit more relaxed,” said Green. “She had a good enough throw to get into the final, and she was excited about that.”
The final began with two girls throwing over 41 feet, but Howe responded. Her first throw also went over 41 feet. Her second throw wasn’t as far, but she saved her best for last.
Howe was coming off marks of 40’7.5” at the state open and 40’4.25” at the Class LL Championship.
Although Howe didn’t break Davis’ indoor school record in the shot put, Green said that Howe definitely has the potential for Davis’ outdoor school record of 45’11”.
“With the state meet and conference records, it would be pretty crazy to think that she wouldn’t come close to breaking some of those records,” said Green.
Howe will join teammate and pole vaulter Megan Biscoglio at New Balance Nationals Indoor, scheduled to be held from Friday, March 9 to Sunday, March 11 at the Fort Washington Avenue Armory in Manhattan, N.Y.
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.