Arlington throwers’ hopes soaring high

ARLINGTON — Arlington senior track star Lexi Sarver throws discus and javelin and also does the high jump and the triple jump for the Eagles —quite the work load for any athlete it would seem.

Is it normal to do that many events?

“It is at Arlington,” Eagles track coach Judd Hunter said.

Sarver is one of three throwers on the Eagles team that has a chance at placing highly, if not winning their events, at this year’s Class 4A state track meet. She is joined by senior Blake McPherson, who throws javelin and junior Dan Boyden, who throws shot put and discus.

All three athletes rank in the state top-five in their respective throwing events, with Sarver currently ranked No. 1.

“They are great athletes,” Hunter said. “They do multiple sports and that helps too. Secondly, they have the desire to work hard. They want to come out each day and try to get better and they focus on the little things it takes to try and get better.”

All three of them are willing to put in the hard work and time and all three are hoping that it pays off with a state championship.

Overcoming the effects of a grueling season will be a key for all three throwers.

“I’m starting to feel the pain this late in the season, especially in my legs with all the pounding and stuff, but I love it so much. Its totally worth it,” Sarver said.

Hunter said that Arlington has a training cycle that tapers athletes off their training programs as the season winds down and that certain athletes taper sooner than others depending on how far the season they expect them to go.

“These guys have yet to begin their taper,” Hunter said. “We still have a couple, few weeks here.”

Past experience is also on the side of Sarver, Boyden and McPherson. All three have been to state before and all there have had success. Last year, Sarver finished second in the discus, Boyden finished fifth in the discus and eighth in the shot put and McPherson has been to state every year of his high-school career in javelin, placing as high as fourth.

McPherson’s track schedule is just as busy as Sarver’s. Not only does he throw javelin, but he also runs both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles and runs a leg on the Eagles 4 x 400 relay team. He will compete in the state decathlon this summer, which Hunter said he believes McPherson has a great chance to win.

In javelin, McPherson has been flirting with the 200-foot mark all season. His season-best is 198 feet, 1 inch.

“I think he wants to break the 200 mark,” Hunter said. “He has been 198, 199. Hes been right in that area and I think he’d really like to break that.”

Hunter said that aside from McPherson’s individual talent, he is an asset to the team as well, always encouraging his teammates to be their best.

“He’s a big proponent of our team having success also,” Hunter said. “He will do whatever it takes, however many events to score as many points as we possibly can for the team. He’s kind of our workhorse on the team.”

The successes that McPherson, Sarver and Boyden have in their events sometimes overshadow the fact that the Eagles have several other very talented throwers behind them.

“That’s not it,” Hunter said. “We’ve got three really good throwers, but we’ve got throwers underneath them too that really adds to our depth.”

Along with Sarver, Marissa Swegle and Lyndsay Leatherman have been extremely consistent all season. Swegle is ranked in the top-five in shot put and Leatherman is ranked in the top-10 in shot put and discus and second in javelin.

“On the girls side, you are pretty lucky if you have one girl over 100 feet,” Hunter said. “We have four girls over 100 feet this year so far — and not just barely over 100.”

Hunter said he can’t take the credit for having such a loaded talent base, and said history plays a role.

“We’ve kind of been known at Arlington as a throwers school,” he said. “It always has been since I have been here — it’s my 11th season. We have a big emphasis on our throwers. We spend a lot of time getting better and I think its kind of what we hang our hat on.

“We push each other all the time,” Boyden said.

Wesco 4A Conference Championships

When: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. (prelims); Friday, 5 p.m. (finals)

Where: Veterans Stadium, Snohomish

Teams: Arlington, Cascade, Edmonds-Woodway, Jackson, Kamiak, Lake Stevens, Mariner, Marysville-Pilchuck, Monroe, Snohomish, Stanwood.

Wesco 3A Conference Championships

When: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. (prelims); Friday, 5 p.m. (finals)

Where: Shoreline Stadium

Teams: Everett, Glacier Peak, Marysville Getchell, Meadowdale, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Oak Harbor, Shorecrest, Shorewood.

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