Austyn Durham of Great Neck North may have fouled her first two throws, and four out of six, but she was crowned Nassau County Class A girls weight throwing champ at St. Anthony’s High School on Monday.
Her third throw of 38 feet, 4 inches was enough to land her in the state championships.
Kayley Ragazzini of Hewlett is the Class B champion and the Section VIII state qualifier. In six attempts, her best was 38 feet, 11 3⁄4 inches. This was a personal record for Ragazzini, who was seeded with a 35-foot throw.
“I’m really just shocked,” the sophomore said. “It’s crazy. I had a thought in my head, maybe I could do this, and it actually happened. It’s really a dream.”
Last year, the weight throw event (20 pounds) was reintroduced to the girls on the county level. Ragazzini only picked up the sport at the end of her freshman year. She went from third place in counties last year to the second seed and champion this year.
“I was in gym class and my coach [Stephen] Honerkamp said we have this new event called weight throw and that I should come join winter track,” she said. “So I did it. And I really didn’t expect to be all-county my freshman year after just starting, and now I’m county champion.
“Most teams haven’t taken the opportunity to learn about it, but we have and I’m very grateful for that. I’m just looking for another personal record and to get better.”
Ragazzini’s throw was the top in Nassau, regardless of class. She threw more than eight feet farther this year than last.
Honerkamp said he is very proud of Ragazzini.
“She puts in the work that she needs to put im,” Honerkamp said. “It’s also good for the program, to actually see how much that hard work will pay off if you stay positive and keep working. Tonight she did it.”