Lakewood High School is home to one of the nation’s top-ranked girls javelin throwers.
Paige Shimkus, a senior, threw a personal-best 148 feet, 5 inches in a three-team meet last Wednesday at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
As of Monday afternoon, that ranked fourth in the nation this season among high school girls. It also ranked No. 1 in the state regardless of classification.
“Her form is really good right now and … she works really hard,” Lakewood javelin coach Tasha Kryger said. “She’s very smart, she’s tall, she’s got long limbs and she’s been putting it all together. … She’s the type of athlete that every coach would dream of.”
Shimkus, a Western Washington University signee, took up the javelin as a freshman and earned top-10 finishes at the Class 2A state meet each of the past three seasons.
She also placed in the top 10 at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships each of the past two summers.
But after throwing a personal-best 132-9 last year, Shimkus dedicated herself to weightlifting in the offseason and has seen her marks increase considerably. She launched a winning throw of 144-6 in the prestigious Pasco Invitational on April 14, then bettered that mark by nearly four feet last week.
“The difference the gym made was unbelievable for me,” she said.
Shimkus said she’s had a strong passion for the javelin ever since experiencing success as a freshman.
“Realizing this was something that’s not only fun, but also (something) I can be successful at,” she said, “it lit a fire in me.”