Polk shot putters hammer school record book during Times-News Invitational

Polk County seniors Autumn Owen, left, and Reagan Waddell

A Polk County-fueled buzz raced through G.M. Tennant Stadium Saturday morning during the field event portion of the 51st Times-News Invitational.

Wolverine seniors Reagan Waddell and Autumn Owen were in the shot put pit staging both an intra-team competition and an assault on the Polk County record book.

Each throw seemed to set a new mark; the two combined to set a new school record four times during the event. Waddell eventually reached 36 feet, five inches on her final attempt, with Owen hitting an even 36 feet on her last throw. The two were four feet ahead of the rest of the field.

The duel in the pit served as the highlight of the day for Polk County, which placed fourth in the boys competition and seventh in the girls. West Henderson’s girls took top honors while Mooresville’s boys were victorious on a cool and often windy day. The meet ended one event early, with the 4×400-meter relay canceled due to lightning.

Times-News Invitational full results, photos

Polk County picked up two other individual event wins, sweeping the pole vault thanks to Jake Justice and Lauren Ketwitz. The Wolverines had a solid day in field events as David Horton placed a narrow second in the high jump, Holden Owens earned a third in the shot put and Justice placed third in the long jump.

On the track, Izzy Jackson finished third in the 100-meter dash and Jack Derkach placed second in the 800-meter run, just .27 behind winner Seth Corey of Greer Middle College Charter.

Owen’s performance came on a day when a number of Polk County athletes from other sports took part in the meet, bolstering the Wolverines’ fortunes. Softballer Ansley Lynch, for example, placed seventh in the 100-meter dash and helped the Wolverine 4×100-meter relay team, consisting of soccer players Aria Shields, Madison Geddings and Tana Harris, place sixth. Grayson Jones joined Owens as baseball players earning team points with his seventh in the 200-meter dash.

And then there was Owen’s effort, in which she joined Waddell as the only Polk County female throwers to ever reach 36 feet in the shot.

“This is one of the most memorable days in the throws,” said Wolverine throwing coach Amanda Simoncic. “Everyone had a (personal record) except for two of our discus throwers.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, except for the weather.”

The sun briefly shone on W.J. Miller Field during the shot, lighting up the competition between Waddell and Owen. Owen’s final throw, just after Waddell’s record-setter, landed to the right of Waddell’s mark, making for a few anxious moments for Waddell as the throw was measured.

“They have each other to push them. They want to win,” said Simoncic, who noted that Owen had been learning the event during Saturday practice sessions. “They force each other to do better, but at the end of the day, they’re happy for each other.”

Northwest Cabarrus’ Josh Wood won the shot and discus to earn boys field MVP honors, with South Iredell’s Cory Gaither setting a meet record in the 300-meter hurdles and earning track MVP. West Henderson’s Taylor Meadows won the 400-meter run and helped the Falcons win the 4×200-meter relay to take girls track MVP honors, with Mooresville’s Imara Harrell named the field MVP after winning the high jump and placing second in the long jump.