BY JIM SCHILTZ
Shenendehowa throwing sensation and state record holder Jill Shippee will be looking for a little more this weekend when she competes in two events outside of Section II.
The North Carolina-bound senior’s spring debut on April 21 turned out a lot better than she had expected, when she set a state hammer throw record with a 196-2 at the New York Relays at Icahn Stadium in Manhattan.
“I trained for the hammer indoors, but it was my first meet of the season,” Shippee said Monday during a break from practice. “I was expecting 180, 185. It was a pleasant surprise. Now I’m riding the wave, training and hoping for another big one.”
Shippee will head to the Irv Black Invitational Friday in Connecticut and the Monroe-Woodbury Invitational Saturday with the No. 6 all-time distance in the hammer for United States high schoolers. She popped her 2017 national-leading 196-2 on her first attempt. Runner-up Annika Kelly of Barrington was a distant second with a 160-2.
“I didn’t believe it when they said it,” the just-turned 18-year-old said of setting a state record. “I thought I heard wrong. It was hard to stay focused after that and I didn’t do so well. I fouled a couple of times .”
Shenendehowa outdoor girls’ throwing coach Mike Marino said he wasn’t surprised with Shippee’s monster throw. Shippee’s previous hammer throw best was a 181-2 when she placed first last season at the New Balance outdoor national championships.
“I’ve seen her practice,” Marino said of the All-American bound for North Carolina. “She’s been around that distance.”
Shippee is coming off a sensational winter season that she capped with a victory in the weight throw at the New Balance indoor national championships. She set a state record with a 65-6.
“I did that on my last throw,” she said. “It was an awesome end to my indoor high school career. It was a great way to end my four-year run.”
Before Shippee won her national weight throw title, she secured state indoor titles in the weight throw and shot put.
“I took two weeks off after the nationals to give my body a rest,” Shippee said. “My season started November first and the nationals were the second week of March. I also played soccer in the fall. I needed a little break. It was good. We went to Hawaii as a family vacation.”
Shippee worked with a 20-pound weight in the winter, while the hammer is 8.8 pounds.
“When people ask me what the hammer is, I say it’s like a shot put on a long line, but you don’t throw it the same,” Shippee said. “It’s pretty similar to the weight throw, but it’s a lot faster. With the hammer I do an extra turn.”
Shippee often has to travel to find hammer competition. It is that event and the weight throw she expects to compete in primarily at the collegiate level.
“In Section II there are not many opportunities,” Shippee said. “New York City, Section I and Section IX host a couple of meets that have it. That makes it difficult.”