Zanders has eyes on shot put, discus honors

Helias senior Bre Zanders competes in the shot put during a meet earlier this season at Adkins Stadium. Zanders is expected to place in the shot put and discus in Class 3.

Helias senior Bre Zanders competes in the shot put during a meet earlier this season at Adkins Stadium. Zanders is expected to place in the shot put and discus in Class 3. Photo by Kris Wilson.

It was an easy choice.

Bre Zanders of Helias has qualified in both the shot put and the discus for the Class 3 state track and field championships that start today at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

So if she had to choose one or the other?

“I love the discus,” Zanders said. “I’m better at it.”

To be fair, the senior is pretty good in both events. Last year, Zanders finished eighth at state in the shot put, while she didn’t qualify in discus.

The shot-put competition is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start today. Of the 16 qualifiers, Zanders had the seventh-best throw in sectional competition at 39 feet, 8 inches.

“In the shot, it has kind of come naturally,” Zanders said.

Helias coach Chip Malmstrom believes Zanders will be in the hunt for the state title after throwing as far as 43 feet in recent practice sessions.

“I think she’s on the verge of a breakthrough,” he said.

On Saturday, Zanders will throw in the discus starting at 11 a.m. She enters the event as one of the favorites and has the top throw of the season in Class 3 at 150-7, which came at the district championships.

That throw set a Helias school record, which she seemingly broke every week during the season.

“I just worked to get better at it, I didn’t want to be content with where I was at,” Zanders said.

The throw also put her within reach of the Class 3 state record of 152-9 set by Rickeal Roach of Lutheran South in 2007.

“Realistically, when you’re throwing 150, what’s another two or three feet?” Malmstrom said. “I’d love to see her set a state record.”

Malmstrom said Zanders has the unique combination of athletic ability and mental toughness.

“She’s a strong, quick thrower and she studies it,” he said. “She can change something pretty quickly and she knows what she’s done wrong.”

Cydnee Reese of O’Hara figures to be in the discus title chase as well after claiming the crown the last two seasons.

Zanders said she’s “pretty ecstatic” with how her senior season has gone.

“I’ve been working hard and that’s paid off so far,” she said. “I hope it will pay off (today) and Saturday.”

But she won’t be putting any extra pressure on herself.

“I’m just going to look at it as just another meet,” Zanders said.

Zanders has signed with Lindenwood to play basketball, so this may be her last track and field competition.

Or maybe not.

“I don’t know yet,” Zanders said. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

III

Zanders isn’t Helias’ only thrower with state-title hopes.

Will Fife of the Crusaders is back in the shot put after taking third as a sophomore last year.

He has the second-best throw in Class 3 this season, a school-record 58-1.

“To watch Will throw, it’s like the gun going off at the start of the race because it’s so explosive,” Malmstrom said.

Fife’s shot put mark was one of six boys school records set this season.

“It’s been a great season,” Malmstrom said.

Griff McCurren also has an excellent shot at winning a state title for the Crusaders in the 400-meter dash. The senior, who was fourth in the event in 2012, ran a 48.61 at last Saturday’s sectional.

“He’s looking pretty strong in that event,” Malmstrom said.

The preliminaries in the 400 are today, with the final set for 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

Michael McCoy of the Crusaders has qualified in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.

“I have a really good feeling about him,” Malmstrom said. “He’s just running his races and putting up awesome times.”

Josh Woodruff, a freshman, has advanced in the 200-meter dash.

The Crusaders will also have a pair of relay teams at state —the 4x200-meter squad of Woodruff, Jordan Walker, J.C. Szumigala and McCurren, and the 4x400-meter group of Ryan Tannehill, Walker, Szumigala and McCurren.

Malmstrom believes the Helias boys have a chance to finish among the top teams this weekend.

“I’d like to see a top-six finish,” he said. “Anything can happen, other teams can have points not come through, so we could do better than that.”

Kaitlyn Shea will join Zanders as Lady Crusaders’ representatives at state.

Shea, a sophomore out for track for the first time, will be in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

“This is going to be a great experience for her,” Malmstrom said. “I know she expects to do very well.”

Shea was voted the track MVP for the Lady Crusaders this season.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting

News Tribune - comments