Rushin caps weekend with title sweep

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jackson's standout junior won the shot put and discus.

JEFFERSON CITY -- If Saturday's Class 4 shot put finals contained any intrigue, it couldn't have centered on whom the state title would go to, not after Jackson's Jill Rushin had thrown.

After an initial throw of 44 feet, the only question remaining was whether she would make history.

"Her first throw, in my opinion, I knew she was going to win it," Jackson assistant coach Nathan Norman. "Then I knew she was going after the state record."

For her part, Rushin, who finished second last year, said she was a bit more hesitant, waiting until after her second throw of a whopping 47-4 1/2 to acknowledge her impending victory.

"After I hit my 47-4," Rushin said, "then I felt I should keep going, trying to get the record."

Try as she did, she was unable to top her second throw, though her sixth and final attempt was close but did not count due to a foul.

"I think I went a little too fast at the beginning," Rushin said of her final throw. "The judge out there told me it was a little further than the 47-4," Rushin said, slightly disappointed.

Outside of her final one, each of Rushin's throws topped the 44-foot mark and would've defeated the second-place finisher by more than two feet. In the end, she won by over 5 feet, 5 inches.

"That's the best series I've ever seen," Norman said of her two sets of three throws. "Every one of them was 44, 45, 46. That just doesn't happen. That's unheard of."

The shot put title was her second of the state meet. Rushin gave all her supporters a bit more to fret about when she scratched on two early throws before coming from behind with a personal best of 146-3 to win the discus state title Friday.

"I felt that I was going to come back," Rushin said, "but I almost scared my dad to death."

With two state titles in hand, the junior's sights are set even higher, moving on to not only the state and national shot put records, but the state discus record.

Jackson's other qualifying thrower, senior Blake Peiffer, had a more trying weekend.

"Thursday, we were going to leave at twelve o'clock," Norman said. "At 10:30, I had a shot put practice. First throw, Blake switched his feet, landed on the toe board and sprained his ankle."

Though a hospital visit confirmed that the ankle was not broken, it still dashed Peiffer's chances and left Norman in disbelief.

"I coached him four years in football, he was a state champion in wrestling, was never hurt. Rolls his ankle the day we leave," Norman said while shaking his head in disbelief.

Though Peiffer fought through the pain and finished 10th in Class 4 in the discus Friday, the bum ankle held him to 15th place in the shot put Saturday with a throw of 44-8 3/4.

His discus throw of 154-2 would have put him in sixth place last year, and his toughness left Jackson coach Steve Wachter impressed.

"A lot of kids would've stayed at home, but not Blake Peiffer," Wachter said.

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