Bermudian's Rachael Kotula sets new District 3 Class AA record in javelin
Still a few events to go here at the District 3 Track and Field Championships. In the meantime, here's an early dispatch...
SHIPPENSBURG -- Rachael Kotula was confused for a moment.
The Bermudian Springs senior had just hurled her second javelin throw Friday at the District 3 Track and Field Championships. For some reason, officials had momentarily halted the event after her toss.
"I didn't even know what was going on," Kotula said. "I was like 'Did the marker break?'
"They said 'We need to verify it.' I said 'Verify what?'"
Turns out organizers were trying to determine if Kotula's throw of 132 feet, 2 inches was a Class AA district meet record. Ten minutes later, Kotula's record was confirmed, and the senior was on her way to securing a second straight District 3 javelin championship.
The senior was one of the YAIAA's big winners Friday at Day 1 of the two-day event here at Shippensburg -- she also placed in the Class AA shot put.
Kotula's haul was a fitting bounty for the senior, who has improved steadily throughout her high school career.
Her secret Friday?
"I just threw," said Kotula, who will compete at Robert Morris next year. "My coach doesn't really coach me, because then I start thinking too much."*
Kotula's record-busting throw wasn't even her best of the season. She qualified as the second seed in the javelin with a season-high mark of 133-03.
Her effort Friday was enough to beat Delone Catholic sophomore Stormie Hibshman, the top seed who snatched second with a mark of 128 feet.
The two have developed a friendly rivalry throughout the season. Hibshman out-tossed Kotula in the javelin at last week's YAIAA championships.
"She even admitted to me today that she didn't really have any hard competition until I came along last year," Hibshman said of Kotula. "It's kind of a relief that she's leaving this year, but then again I probably won't have as much fun because she's in my county."
That rivalry was on display again later in the day, when Kotula and Hibshman finished two-three in the Class AA shot put with throws of 37-09 and 36-00.50, respectively.*
Hibshman's put was her personal record by almost three feet. She was seeded tenth in the event.
"I'm still in awe about my shot," Hibshman said after receiving her broze medal. "I don't get it still. It's going to take a while to sink in."
The pair will see plenty of each other next week, as well: Both qualified for states in the shot put and javelin.
Kotula is seeded second in the Class AA discus, which takes place today.