By: John Raffel
Ithaca sophomore throwers have impressive seasons
Ithaca athletic director Terry Hessbrook summed it well when talking about the Yellowjackets boys track team:
“Our boys throwers are amazing,” he said. “Alex Vandeweghe broke a school record in shot put with a throw of 54-10 ½. The record was close to 30 years old. Baylee Chaffin has also broken 50 feet in the shot put. Not bad for two sophomores.”
As the season headed toward regionals, Vandeweghe said the focus was on qualifying for state finals and doing well there. But so far, his sophomore season has been promising.
“Last year I gained 20 feet on my discus so far and seven or eight feet on the shot put,” he said. “Before the season's over, I'd like to increase my PRs and throw farther, and hopefully get an all-state, top three ranking there.”
Of the two teams he's been on in high school track and field, Vandeweghe indicated this is his best one.
“We've got the most raw talent this year,” he said. “Hopefully, we'll show the results.”
The key to having success in his events, Vandeweghe said, is “lifting and running and peaking at the right time for the big meets,” he said.
Chaffin is also in the shot put and discus. Getting personal records from last season has been a major highlight for Chaffin. His personal record was a 52-1.5 in the Shepherd Blue Jay Invitational so far this season. His personal record for the discus came in the first meet of his 137-2 in a TVC crossover meet.
“Alex and I are both sophomores and we go back and forth,” Chaffin said. “I've generally been behind him but he pushes me. We push each other a lot.”
Chaffin indicated the shot put is his best event of the two right now.
The discus is a little iffy, but “I'm trying to get my form down.” he said. “I want to hit 54 in shot and 150 in discus. I'd like just to place first and second at regionals, make it to state and hopefully make it to the top eight to make all-state.”
Chaffin has been throwing since middle school. From last year he's improved about five feet on the shot and five feet in the discus.