In any given outdoor track season, it’s always big news when a national record is broken.
However, this spring that news was “doubly big” as not one, but two girls surpassed the existing national javelin record.
And adding to that is the fact that one of those girls is a mere sophomore.
Entering the 2011 track season, Rachel Yurkovich of Newburg (Oregon) High School held the national mark of 172-feet-8 she set in 2005.
On April 23, 16-year-old sophomore Haley Crouser of Gresham (Oregon) High School (shown right) tossed the implement 173-0 at the Centennial (Oregon) High School Invitational.
Then on May 20, Christine Kirkwood, a senior at Othello (Washington) High School, uncorked a 173-9 effort to establish the second performance this spring to better Yurkovich’s record.
Wrapping up her stellar prep career, six days later Kirkwood claimed her third consecutive Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Class 2A state javelin title with a state meet record of 167-9. She will attend the Air Force Academy (Colorado) this fall.
Genetics seem to play a role in Crouser’s success.
First of all, a year ago Haley’s older brother, Sam, etched his name into the National High School Sports Record Book with the boys national javelin record of 244-2.
Then, in a second family weight-person connection, Haley’s cousin, Ryan. set an Oregon state boys shot put record at the Centennial Meet when he heaved the ball 72-7½. In the process, he surpassed his own state mark by more than two feet. In addition, he set a meet record in the discus with a twirl of 208-5, breaking cousin Sam’s 2010 meet record of 203-9.
Finally, it appears that excellence in weight events among Crouser family members actually began a generation ago, when there were three brothers ‑ Mitch, Dean and Brian.
Ryan’s father is Mitch, who was a discus thrower at the University of Idaho and placed fourth in the 1984 Summer Olympic Trials.
Sam’s and Haley’s father is Dean, the University of Oregon record-holder in both the shot put (69-1½; set in 1982) and the discus (216-2; set in 1983).
Brian is the University of Oregon record-holder in the “old” javelin, which he threw 312 feet in 1985.