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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Sidelines: Woodmore s Pendletons toss away challengers in discus

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Woodmore s Emily Pendleton s discus throw of 172 feet, 8 inches at the district is the best in the nation this season. Woodmore s Emily Pendleton s discus throw of 172 feet, 8 inches at the district is the best in the nation this season.
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ELMORE Two-time Division III state discus champion Emily Pendleton experienced the best meet of her life less than a week ago.

The Woodmore junior didn t just win the discus event at the Division III district track and field meet for the third year in a row. Pendleton triumphed in impressive style by recording the best discus throw in the nation this outdoor season with a career-best 172 feet, 8 inches.

It was wonderful weather that day, said Pendleton of the conditions Saturday at Eastwood. The wind was perfect for throwing and I was ready to go.

Pendleton, who stands 5-8, recorded two other throws over 170 feet. Her previous best throw this season, a 168-0 effort recorded at the Oak Harbor Invitational, had stood as the top effort in the nation, according to DyeStat, an Internet site dedicated to high school track and field.

Sarah Robles, of San Jacinto, Calif., who has a season-best effort of 160-2, is the only other girls discus thrower in the nation to have recorded a throw measuring at least 160 feet this season.

Pendleton, who won the state title last season with a toss of 145-2, has increased her distance by more than 25 feet. Heading into the regional tomorrow at Fostoria, her approach will remain the same.

The Pendleton sisters at Woodmore practice at school and at home, where they have their own throwing ring. Mike Pendleton
instructs his daughters, from left, Carly (seventh grade), Erin (freshman) and two-time state champion Emily (junior). The Pendleton sisters at Woodmore practice at school and at home, where they have their own throwing ring. Mike Pendleton instructs his daughters, from left, Carly (seventh grade), Erin (freshman) and two-time state champion Emily (junior).
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My goal is to always keep improving, Pendleton said. How far that is will be however far it is.

Woodmore girls assitant track coach Mike Pendleton, who is also Emily s father and the team s throwing coach, admits his daughter s efforts this spring have exceeded his expectations.

I really didn t know what to expect, the elder Pendleton said. I didn t think she d be throwing this far. She has goals and all I ve said is, Go for it, and wherever it lands it lands.

This season has been special for more than one reason for the Pendletons. Emily s sister, Erin, a freshman, has joined her to become one of the state s best discus throwers.

Erin placed a distant second at the district with a solid effort of 140-1.

If Emily wasn t around you d probably be hearing about Erin, Mike Pendleton said. At the same age at the same point in the season, Erin [has been] throwing further than Emily at the same frame of the season her freshman year.

It s more a family affair than sibling rivalry. Both also qualified for the regional meet in the shot put after Emily took first(39-6 ) at the district and Erin placed fourth (35- ).

We re together all the time, Emily Pendleton said. We try to help each other and it s really nice to have her right there.

Even Erin, 15, who is 5-foot-8, feels comfortable enough to offer assistance to the state champion.

We always try to help each other, Erin Pendleton said. Whenever she has a bad throw I tell her to shake it off and look forward to the next throw.

They encourage each other at practice and at home, where their father has built a throwing ring in the yard. Throwing the discus became serious for the Pendletons after Emily won her first state title as a freshman with a toss of 141-9.

Emily s achievement sparked the interest of her sisters, including Carly, a seventh-grader.

Other kids are at the mall, Mike Pendleton said. They [Emily and Erin] do like to go shopping, but they put in their work and train hard.

While Emily s ranks No. 1 nationally this season in the discus, she s several feet away from positioning her name among the all-time best high school girls efforts.

The national record is 188-4, set by Suzy Powell of Modesto, Calif., in 1994. The Ohio record is 181-11, established by Krista Keir of South Westerville in 1997.

The Pendletons believe the national record and state record are goals to shoot for, considering Emily is only finishing her junior season.

The national record is 188 feet and I believe we can get that, Mike Pendleton said. I think it s achievable. The sky is the limit.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.



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