At large bid? Eastwood’s Kiefer still places eighth

Daniel Sherriff

Eastwood senior Ava Kiefer was beginning to think a trip to Columbus was not in the cards for her.

“I was a little worried about it but I just kept working on it and it paid off,” she said.

Since taking up the shot put in junior high, it had been a goal of hers to earn a berth in the Division II state meet. It almost came to fruition at the 2021 regional meet but she took ninth place.

According to her she was only three feet away from punching her ticket to Columbus.

She didn’t spend much time dwelling on what could have been and turned her attention to the future.

“I was just thinking about the next year,” she said. “I focused on trying to better myself.” 

She finally earned a trip to the big dance this year and made the podium in the shot put event by taking eighth place with a distance of 39-1.75 last Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Of Eastwood’s four individual qualifers in field events, Kiefer was the only one to earn a spot on the podium.

“It really means a lot with it being my senior year,” she said. “Just being able to make it to states is really cool.”

Kiefer always was interested in competing in shot put since she was a child because she believed she had the perfect athletic build to excel in the event. 

She picked a good time to qualify for her first state meet because it finally returned to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for the first time in three years. 

The 2020 season was cancelled because of the pandemic and last year it required the OHSAA to split the state meet into three separate venues.

Despite making it to Columbus, the work didn’t stop for Kiefer. 

She needed to hit a distance that was one of the nine best throws in the first round in order to advance to the final round to compete for a spot on the podium.

“I was trying to push myself and go after it,” she said. “That’s what I needed to do.”

Kiefer eclipsed her personal record on her first throw when she hit a distance of 39-1.75 in the first flight to move into seventh place.

She credited her first throw to having the adrenaline running and being up against some elite competition.

Kiefer moved down to eighth place after Celina junior Amelia Lutz hit 39-3 on her second throw in the second flight.

She fouled out on her second throw and only hit 32-11 on her third throw but her first throw had the distance to qualify her for the final flight of nine competitors.

“I previously did not come in ranked that high,” Kiefer explained. “It made a really big difference.”

Her first throw of the final flight had the distance but it went foul. 

Kiefer said both of her throws that went foul went longer than her first throw.

“I was just going after it and I feel like I had a whole lot of power behind it,” she said. “I should have worked on staying in the ring.”

She landed her next two throws inside the ring but neither one of them could match the distance she set on her first throw.

Her first throw made the difference to propel her to a spot on the podium and close out her high school career with a medal, something she’d yearned for since competing in the event since junior high school.

“It’s actually a really big accomplishment for me because it was one of my goals to make it to state,” she noted.

(Daniel Sherriff is the sports editor of the Chagrin Valley Times, Geauga County Times, and Solon Times, sister publications of the Press Newspapers (Metro Press/Suburban Press) published by Douthit Communications.)









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