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Clemson rockets discus to title



Published: Sun, June 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



She's the first Maplewood girl to win an Ohio crown.

By BRIAN RICHESSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

DAYTON -- Maplewood High junior discus thrower Christen Clemson prefers to compare her event to poetry. Or to water rushing through a brook.

"You want to be like that brook," Clemson said. "You want to be smooth going through there."

Clemson was full of analogies after she won the Division III state discus title Saturday at Welcome Stadium.

Her personal-best throw of 140 feet, 11 inches, which came in the second throw of preliminaries, topped the second-place finisher by 5 feet and gave the Rockets their first individual state champion in a girls event.

Peaceful: "I'll go out and throw by myself with nobody there," Clemson said of the event. "It's peaceful and relaxing. Some people go for runs; I go to throw."

That's one of the reasons Clemson is so successful at her event, Maplewood coach Dave Deeter said.

"She loves the event," he said, "and when you love an event, you work at it."

That work brought Clemson to the state meet as a freshman (fourth place) and sophomore (third). What put her over the top this year, she said, was her desire.

"I wanted to stand on that podium since I was in seventh grade," Clemson said. "That pushed me to work that hard.

"It just clicked," she said. "Everything went together that I've been working on all season."

Although Clemson was confident of her chances, she was aware of a field of top throwers that included Warren John F. Kennedy sophomore Michelle Rossio, who placed seventh (122-4).

" 'Wow' is the key word there," Clemson said. "Today was just a good day to throw. There was a nice wind blowing with your disc, and the ring was nice and dry."

Next: Clemson already knows what her schedule holds in the upcoming weeks. Her goal now is to prepare to break the Div. III state record of 150-8, set in 1986 by Liberty Center's Mary Reighard.

"I'm going to break everything down," she said. "In a couple of weeks, I'm going to take my form apart and re-do it and see if I can even add more distance to it. Then, in the fall, I'm going to start hitting the weight room."

Boys: The Maplewood boys team wasn't able to defend its title of a year ago when it tied Findlay Liberty-Benton for the state crown with 22 points. The Rockets finished third this year with 25 points, behind champion Lorain Clearview (40) and runner-up Amanda-Clearcreek (28).

"We're disappointed right now, but we scored more points than last year," Deeter said.

The Rockets' best individual finish of the day came from junior David Pykare, who placed third in the 1600 (4:21.13). Pykare also competed in the 3200 (seventh, 9:51.87).

Senior Dave Morrison was fourth in the 800 (1:57.38), while sophomore John Palmer was 13th (2:04.77).

Maplewood's 4x400 relay of freshman Dan Palm, sophomore Derek Armstrong, Palmer and Pykare was seventh (3:31.68).

richesson@vindy.com




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