Frank Catelli first decided to alter his shot put throwing technique just before the start of the Olympic League Championship meet on May 5. After switching from a spinning style of throwing to a gliding style, he launched his first throw 51 feet, 11 inches, a personal best by over two feet. The Sequim junior knew he had found his spot.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m doing the glide now,’” Catelli said.
On Friday, Catelli used this method to capture the 2A state title in shot put, heaving the 12-pound sphere 55 feet, ten inches.
“It was nice to see Frank throw so well on the shot put,” Sequim coach Brad Moore said. “He’s continuing to improve since he made that change.”
Catelli worked with Sequim throwing coach B.J. Schade to revise his throwing technique, placing more emphasis on getting a strong push. Moore says getting behind the shot put, as opposed to rotating, is better suited to Catelli’s strength and has allowed him to be more consistent.
“He was able to make the transition in a pretty short amount of time, and that was a huge plus,” Moore said. “It ended up being a better fit.”
Catelli said he realized that he had a chance to claim the top position when he was warming up for the competition.
“In warm-ups, my first throw was 52 feet,” Catelli said. “My first throw in competition was 53 feet, nine inches. After that, I knew because no one was hitting even close to that.”
Olympic League foe Troy Martin of Port Angeles appeared to be Catelli’s best competition heading into the meet, but the senior Roughrider struggled and finished 15th in the event.
Catelli’s state-best mark capped four top-six finishes for Sequim athletes at the class 2A state track and field meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma May 26-28.
“I’m happy with the kids,” Moore said. “Every kid gave it their best and absolutely put everything they had into it. A lot of kids made tremendous improvements.”
Despite numerous ailments and injuries, the Wolves had a collection of personal-best performances, including a pair of girls who were very close to earning state titles.
Audrey Lichten, running a little under the weather, garnered second place in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5 minutes, 5.68 seconds, just .15 second behind Kingston’s Marina Roberts.
Lichten was right on Roberts’ heels as the duo approached the finish line, but Lichten finished inches behind her Olympic League counterpart.
Cutting over two seconds off her time from last year’s state meet, Lichten set a personal record in the 800 run, claiming sixth place with a time of 2:17.88. She finished seventh last year.
“I’m just so pleased with her for running so strong and having the two best performances of her career,” Moore said.
It was Lichten’s fourth appearance at state.
Haleigh Harrison tied for fourth place in the high jump with a mark of five feet, two inches, only two inches shy of the winning jump.
Competing with a sore knee on her jump knee and a balky back, Harrison’s attempt at eclipsing five feet, four inches just nicked the bar, but it was enough to dislodge it and spoil her try at a state title.
“The fact that she’s been working through that, she’s done a great job,” Moore said. “Obviously she wanted to jump a little higher, but she should be very proud.”
In the 4x100 meter relay, the team of Taylor Bonneau, Jayson Brockelsby, Stephan Stilts and Emanuel Herrera placed seventh, recording a time of 44.33 seconds. The quartet is the first sprint group to medal at state in school history.
Three members of the history-making group could be back next year: Herrera is a junior, and Brockelsby and Bonneau are sophomores. Brockelsby also tied for 15th place in the high jump with a leap of five feet, eight inches.
In the boys’ 1,600-meter run, Alex Jenkins earned 15th place with a time of 4:40.99. It was the first individual event at the state level for the Sequim senior.
Catelli also placed 12th in the discus with a toss of 128 feet, two inches, and 11th in the javelin with a throw of 150 feet, three inches.
“The reality is he’s only been throwing a little bit,” Moore said. “If he keeps throwing, he’s going to continue improving. He’s an exciting kid to have back.”
Catelli’s state title in the shot put continues a five-year streak of Sequim state champions in track and field and is the seventh championship in seven years.
The boys team combined to finish 20th, while the girls placed 19th.