Rushin demands more

Sunday, April 12, 2009
Jackson's Landon Wachter competes in the hurdles Saturday at the Jackson Invitational. (KIT DOYLE ~

The host Indians fared well in the throwing events.

After Jackson junior Jill Rushin won the discus competition at the Jackson Invitational on Saturday, she returned to the throwing circle to work on her form.

She said she needed some extra practice. She wasn't satisfied with any of her throws despite her best one going 16 feet farther than the best throw by the second-place finisher.

Rushin ended up winning the girls field MVP with wins in both the shot put (43 feet, 5 inches) and discus (134-8).

"That's why she's good," Jackson throwing coach Nathan Norman said as Rushin practiced after the event finished. "You don't see anyone else out here throwing."

Scott City's Stephanie Essner competes in the 100-meter dash Saturday at the Jackson Invitational. For more photos from the meet, go online to (KIT DOYLE ~

Rushin did have good reason for feeling disappointed with her discus throws after breaking the school record with a throw of 144-7 at the Tiger Town Invitational on Wednesday. Although Rushin was almost 10 feet under her discus personal record, she set the invitational's record for the shot put, besting the previous mark of 42-9 set in 1999.

"I was happy with the shot put because I beat the meet record and that was my goal, so I did good in that," Rushin said.

Rushin scratched on her first two discus throws. She said she was a little nervous before her third throw and focused on not fouling a third time.

"I focused and at least I got two in, so I was happy about that," Rushin said.

Rushin's winning shot put throw was more than 7 inches farther than the throw by the second-place finisher. No one in the area has come close to Rushin this spring.

Central senior Dante Sales compete in the long jump Saturday.

"We're not necessarily worried about how she does here," Norman said. "We're practicing for next week at Kansas and then the state track meet. That's our goal."

Rushin and a few of her teammates will participate in a meet in Kansas next week.

Rushin threw at the Texas Relays last week while her teammates competed at the Bulldog Relays at Notre Dame Regional High School. Coach Steve Wachter said he wanted Rushin to compete at the Texas Relays because many college coaches were in attendance and that Rushin needs to gain that type of exposure since her throws have been so strong.

Rushin, who has received recruiting interest from at least 30 college track and field programs, finished second in the discus and fourth in the shot put down in Texas.

"Texas was amazing," Rushin said. "I'm so glad that I have coaches to support me and coach Wachter allowed me to go. ... I liked the competition like that. It made me more focused. Since I wasn't around anybody, I could focus down there and then there were girls right there [competing] with me so it made me better. They helped me do better."

Kelly freshman Stephanie Kerr plants her long jump Saturday.

Rushin said she had the chance to throw in front of college coaches at the meet last weekend and expects the same type of competition in Kansas.

"Down there I talked with two coaches and then there was a bunch that still got to see me and so that was good exposure, I guess," Rushin said.

As for her extra practice throws after the discus event was completed, it wasn't anything too out of the ordinary for her.

She said even when she does well, she typically will make two extra throws when she is done with her competitive throws at a meet.

"If she's got time, she's going to throw," Norman said. "She's going to practice whenever she can and always try to improve herself."

The Jackson boys throwers also did well at their home meet. Blake Peiffer collected first-place finishes in the discus (146-9) and shot put (50-3.75).

Cole Rodgers finished second to Peiffer in the discus (144-9).

"[Peiffer] had a great day." Norman said. "It was not necessarily his most consistent day, but his top throws were very good. The best throw for him in the discus and shot put were not his personal best, but close. I'm excited. If they keep continuing to do what they're doing, both [Peiffer and Rodgers] could place in the discus at state. If Blake can improve a little more in the shot, then he's got a shot at placing in that."

The girls discus weighs less than the boys discus. Still, Rushin has had some fun joking with Rodgers after she has thrown farther distances than him a couple of times this year.

For instance, Rushin's discus throw at the Tiger Town Invitational went almost 3 feet farther than Rodger's throw.

"I said [something about it] to Cole once, and he said, 'Well, why don't you try throwing a guy's discus?'" Rushin said. "He was just kidding. We joke all the time."

Rushin sometimes gets into throwing competitions with the boys during practices.

"We always usually try to hit around 140, but it depends on who's shagging if they'll call back the right distance or not," Rushin joked.

Running events

Defending Class 1 mile champion Ross Gage of Saxony Lutheran had a strong day with second-place finishes in the mile (4 minutes, 37.63 seconds) and 800 (2:03.25).

Gage likes the Jackson Invitational because of the competition.

Gage was just one of three local runners to finish in the top three in at least two different running events.

"This is probably the best competition we'll see all year," Gage said. "I'm not exactly sure what the rest of our meets are, but there's a bunch of real big schools and really fast schools [at this meet], so it's really good competition. I feel like everyone pushes each other to run a good time and that's what everyone has done today."

Gage was pleased with the way he ran, especially with the way he performed in the mile.

"I'm really happy with my mile time," Gage said. "I hadn't ran that fast already this year."

Scott City's Stephanie Essner had three top-three finishes. She placed first in the 400, second in the 100 and second in the 200 dash.

Jackson's Landon Wachter finished first in the 300 hurdles and second in the 100 hurdles.

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