CHARLESTON, Ill. — The start was flawless. The finish not so much.
The end result, though, sparkled with silver.
Liberty senior Julia Hahn nearly went over the toeboard on the front of the shot put circle on her third attempt Thursday at the Class 1A state track and field championship at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium. However, she regained her balance, stayed in the circle and saw the shot land further than nearly every competitor in the field.
“I kind of felt it,” Hahn said. “I figured it was going to be a pretty good throw. Initially, I don’t think I was expecting that far until I saw it hit the line.”
Her toss went 12.09 meters, making her one of only two throwers with a toss further than 12 meters as she finished as the state runner-up. Oregon’s Brenna Noon won the state championship with a toss of 12.3 meters.
Hahn’s second-place finish is the highest in the history of the Liberty girls track program, according to IHSA records.
“It’s really an accomplishment because I’ve been working on it for a lot of years,” said Hahn, who plans to attend Maryville University and enter their freshman direct entry doctor of physical therapy program. “Just to see all the hard work pay off and all the time spent at the track pay off is special.”
Hahn’s best throw started easier than all the rest.
“I was really smooth out of the back of the ring, which is what’s key,” Hahn said.
She was good until her follow through.
“At the end, I about fell out of the front of the ring, but I saved myself,” Hahn said. “I was on my toes kind of leaning over the toe board. I leaned back a little, got it and was like, ‘OK, I can walk out the back now.’”
Hahn also finished 12th in the discus, capping a day in which she was primed for success.
“I had a really easy, settled feeling,” Hahn said. “I wasn’t overly excited and wasn’t super nervous. It was like a normal meet. It was kind of weird, but it was good. I wasn’t too anxious or nervous.”
She handled the steamy temperatures with ease, too.
“We were under umbrellas almost the whole time,” Hahn said.
She said competing on the hottest day of the year so far didn’t bother her.
“I’ve been working up to it, knowing if I was going to throw well, the temperature shouldn’t affect me if I’ve worked in it,” Hahn said.