OMAHA — Two-time defending discus champion Kalynn Meyer started her day by setting a new state meet record in the preliminary round. That throw itself would have placed first by nearly 24 feet.
But Meyer wasn’t done.
The Superior star broke her new state meet record again in the finals. And yet again on her final throw of the finals.
Meyer set an all-time best throw of any class at the state meet, winning the all-class gold medal with a throw of 176 feet, 8 inches Friday at the Class C state meet at Omaha Burke High School.
“It felt good. It sailed like good throws do. I was really excited, and I PR’d by 1 foot, which is good, on the last throw especially,” the Superior junior said. “(The goal was to) just to get out and technically throw well. The past few weeks I’ve been throwing really consistent and the technique has been really good. I just wanted to come out here and be disciplined and just do my thing.”
After Meyer’s first throw that broke the record in the preliminary round, she hurled the discus even further on her final throw of prelims, but she couldn’t stay in the ring and scratched. The throw appeared to be right around, if not past, the 180-mark.
“That one felt really good,” Meyer said with a grin. “It had enough zip on it that it could sail a long ways, and it did. But I don’t really know how hard. I could tell it went out there a long ways, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in.”
The finals of the discus event might as well have been at a Tribland all-star meet. Four of the top six finishes in the event were by area athletes. Tori Thomas was second (147-4), Shayla Meyer was fifth (130-10), and Lexi Vertin was sixth (130-3).
“I think I competed against almost everybody that made the finals, so that’s very comforting. And we’re all good friends. We all wish the best for each other, so when one of us does well it’s awesome,” Vertin said. “Kalynn Meyer throwing a new state record, Tori throwing a new PR, it’s just awesome seeing the success of everyone. Being a senior and seeing the growth of everyone, that’s really cool too.”
Thomas was “extremely” pleased with her results, as she set a new personal best on her first throw of the day.
“I was in disbelief. I was like, ‘I cannot believe that just happened.’ I’m glad my hard work has all paid off; it’s been a really successful year,” she said.
Thomas and Vertin have been succeeding together in the ring and on the basketball and volleyball courts for three years now. Thomas credited Vertin for pushing her to be better in everything.
“I’ve accomplished so much more with Lexi. I was actually thinking, ‘Next year, who’s going to push me when she’s gone? What am I going to do?’ I give a lot of credit to her,” Thomas said. “She’s made me a better athlete, and I think I’ve made her into a better athlete. She’s really been a great teammate and friend.”
Vertin felt she could have had a better performance on Friday, but she was more than happy to see her teammate and friend have a career day.
“Seeing her (Friday) was awesome; I’m so proud of her. In high school, we’ve done all three sports together. She’s got one more year, but to see her at our last meet do so well is awesome,” Vertin said. “It was a frustrating day for me, personally, but you still enjoy it and you live in the moment. There are a lot of good memories you won’t forget about from (Friday).”
Vertin said coming to Omaha to compete at state for the final time is a “little heartbreaking.” But she will be continuing her track career at the University of Nebraska, and she knows the work is just beginning.
Kalynn will also attend UNL after she graduates next year, as she’s committed to play for the volleyball team. But after winning gold, she admitted she’s thought about also throwing for the Huskers’ track and field team.
Winning a gold medal was nothing new for Kalynn, but competing at the state meet with her sister Shayla was a first. Kalynn was just as giddy over Shayla’s fifth place than her own gold medal.
“It’s really exciting, especially when she goes out and PR’s by 8 feet. I was really happy for her,” Kalynn said.
Shayla added: “(Kalynn’s) my inspiration. She pushes me. It was so nice. I’m so proud of here, and I’m proud of myself.”