Three NTL throwers eye states
For the past three years one thrower has led the NTL between the shot put and discus.
This year three of the league's strongest are battling for top thrower.
Athens' Ryan Kreykenbohm is leading the way in the shot put with his throw off 50-feet, 3-inches at the Wyalusing's Invitational last Friday.
In the discus Canton's Will Unruh has a best of 147-feet, 10-inches for tops in the league.
Lurking in the shadows behind both is Wyalusing's Jeremy Allyn. His best marks of 47-feet, 9-inches in the shot put and 144-feet in the discus put him just behind both. Kreykenbohm is third in the discus at 135-feet and while Unruh isn't in the top three for the shot put he has been in past seasons but has focused more on the discus this year.
Kreykenbohm has really exploded in the shot put these past two weeks, hitting a personal best of over 48-feet at Misericordia before Wyalusing.
His mark of 50-feet, 3-inches is the state qualifying distance.
"It feels great," Kreykenbohm said about hitting 50-feet in April. "It was one of my initial goals in the beginning of the year. Initially I didn't think I was going to get it so soon until I did. Now I will have to set my mind a little higher."
He credits the big jump these past two weeks on those around him.
"It's been my coaches and my team helping me get there," Kreykenbohm remarked. "I have been doing a new workout routine with Mr. Lezak."
Even though he's hit his goal Kreykenbohm is by no means satisfied.
"I want to try and get to 52 or 53 if I can," he said. "I'm basically going to work on form and explosivenenss through the circle."
For Unruh his best this year is two inches short of the PIAA mark (148-feet even).
"I feel pretty confident," he remarked. "I'm doing a lot better than I did last year. So far I'm fourth in the state for discus."
All the years of practice seem to be paying off for the Warrior.
"Something just clicked for me I guess," Unruh said. "My legs are stronger."
Counting junior high this is his fifth year throwing.
"I have a lot of experience," he added.
Being so close to that mark has Unruh has put more of a focus on discus over shot put.
"I'm trying to put all my focus on discus so I can go to states," he explained.
Unruh will continue practicing the way he has the last five years to get the extra distance he needs.
"I think its just keep practicing, keep working out," he said about getting better.
Allyn is just behind both throwers but feels he's right there with them.
"There are slow spots here and there but you just have to keep your confidence and know you'll get it back," he said. "I feel pretty good. There's always room for improvement no matter what sport you're doing."
The senior feels that 50 feet is just around the corner for him as well.
"Any where I'm at I'm shooting for 50," Allyn explained. "Especially at districts, I really have to bring my best and give it whatever I've got."
While top two make it out of districts to states no matter what the distance it usually takes a state qualifying throw to make it states at districts.
"You never know, you have to bring it that day," Allyn remarked. "I look at my competition as the number not the people. You get the number and you're there."
He also has former teammate Tracey LaFrance, now at Mansfield University, in his corner. LaFrance his that 50-foot mark last season to take second at districts and make the trip down to Shippensburg.
"He's helped me so much," Allyn said. "He comes over on the weekend no matter what he's got going on, he's a great friend and mentor. I'm glad I had him last year to help me out."
Nothing would make Allyn happier than to reach states for LaFrance.
"I would really love to do that for him to just like say thank you," he remarked.
With one NTL Championship this year all three throwers will be competing against each other the weekend before districts. That should be a good preview at what to expect down at Susquehanna University and the throwers like the competition, too.
"It gives you something to go after," Unruh explained.
"We all help motivate each other and help each other throw further," added Kreykenbohm. "It's good because we're all friends. That also helps motivate us going each other so often."
It's at big meets like that personal bests are usually reached.
"There's a lot of competition in the league this year," Allyn remarked. "Even in the NTL there is a lot but especially in the district. There's a lot of good throwers down there."
Of course the biggest goal is earning a medal at states.
"I want to stand at first," Kreykenbohm said about going to states. "But I will be happy just standing on the podium."
With the way things are going there could be two others from the NTL standing alongside him.