Celt Stacey Ticthenal draws back for a javelin throw in a recent meet. Titchenal says she’s “addicted” to the javelin event. (Photo submitted by Bill Donaldson)

Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s throwers consider themselves to be a family, but those interested in lobbing a bomb on the table during dinner need only broach the topic of grunting and watch the sparks fly.

“If you’re good you can grunt, but if you’re not you’re going to toss the shot 20 feet and look like a fool. It’s embarrassing,” said shot put hurler Hannah Phipps.

The practice of grunting when competing in shot put, discus and javelin is something of a hot button issue.

“Yelling always makes your throws go further. You also make yourself look more macho,” said Austin Hejny, who competes in all three throwing events.

While neither side is able to prove their point beyond a shadow of a doubt, the one thing they all agree on is that the events aren’t as easy as they look.

“We spend multiple weeks just on footwork,” said Todd Hatley, a grunting advocate, who competes in all three events.

“It’s all technique and there’s usually a lot more to think about than just one thing at a time,” Phipps added.

Unlike runners and jumpers, who focus on leg strength, or vaulters, who need a total body workout, throwers combine upper body strength with precision control of their legs to perform well in competition.

“There’s a lot of mental and physical work, but if you overthink any part of it chances are you’re not going to do well,” Hejny said.

One of appeals is that it doesn’t rely on natural ability, said Stacey Titchenal.

“Either you’re good at running or you’re not, but the throwing you can learn,” she said.

Titchenal said she’s addicted to the effort and mindset required to hurl a javelin.

“With javelin it’s all mental, you learn what you need to do, but you’ve got to know you can it during it in a meet,” she added.

Hatley said the crossover legwork in javelin throwing is one of his least favorite aspects of being a thrower, he prefers the discus.

“It just feels a lot more natural and loose vs. javelin,” Hatley said.

Regardless of preferences for a particular event, Titchenal said the amount of effort and practice shouldn’t be underestimated.

“We work a lot harder than people think we do,” she said.

The McNary girls recorded their first dual meet loss (80-64) of the season against North Salem last week. The boys also lost to the Vikes, 78-67.

“It was one of those meets where the kids hit a plateau after a few weeks of double duty at dual and invite meets,” said Jake Lucey, McNary head coach. “On the bright side, Austin Christensen, Maddie Jordan, Tony Goemaere and Tim McDowell, in the hurdles, all performed really well. Stacey Titchenal also separated herself from the rest of the league in the meet.”

Winners for the Celtics in boys events were: Daniel Brattain in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.5; McDowell in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.4; Hejny in the javelin with a toss of 150-02; McDowell in the high jump clearing 6-00; Jake Herndon in the pole vault clearing 10-00; and Christensen in the long jump sticking the landing at 19-05.

Girls winners were: Averi Wing, Keri Stein, Daysha Simms-Garcia and Deven Hunter in the 4×400 relay with a time 4:27.3; Jessica Darras in the shot put and discus with tosses of 33-11 and 99-03, respectively; Tichenal in the javelin with a hurl of 128-02; and Jenna Quesnel in the pole vault clearing 10-06 and long jump with a distance 16-10.

The Celts head to district competition next week.