PTFCA State Indoor Championships
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006
Multisport Indoor Facility, Penn St. University, State College PA
Results/Stories/Previews/Pics by Don Rich,

A Shot at the Top – PA's 2006 Power Surge in the Girls' Shot Put

By Don Rich,

The best of the best: Elite PA shot putters Allyn Laughlin, Samantha Fetter, and Karen Shump. Photos by Don Rich,


"Mom, I went to sign up for softball and changed my mind a little. I'm doing the Shot Put."

So began the track & field career of Center HS thrower, current PA leader and US#2 Allyn Laughlin. An elite athlete who played infield and outfield in softball, and a goalie on both Olympic-development and Club soccer teams for years, it was a middle school sports signup day that got her to change her sport, and that sport has changed her life.

But Laughlin is just one of a group of top throwers among the PA girls this year. There are seven ranked nationally. To even get on the list (Dyestat Elite), you have to throw over 40'.  Joining Laughlin and her 47-06.50 at the PTFCA Indoor State Championships will be Penncrest sophomore and defending state champ Karen Shump (46-05.25), Hempfield (7) senior Samantha Fetter (45-02.00), Union City senior Natalie Clickett (42-00.50), Kane senior Heather Hess (42-00.50), Coatesville sophomore Kaleena Gray (40-07.75), and Hemfpield (7) sophomore Kim Kanala (40-06.75). Nipping at their heels are no fewer than nine athletes who have all thrown in the 37's or 38's.

For those keeping track, the top three, Laughlin, Shump, and Fetter are US#2, #4 and #6, respectively.

So what's different this year?

Well, the Shot Put has always been strong in Pennsylvania. In fact, East Juniata's Heather Colyer set what was then the US Indoor Record with a throw of 52-05.75 in 1997. Colyer threw 53-03 the next spring to hold that PA record as well. Fetter has a theory... "We have the best coaches around this area for the shot."

But competition also has a lot to do with it. For much of the season, Shump was throwing in the DVGTCA meets in southeast PA, and with her throws consistently in the 40's, with a best of 44-11.50 on December 2nd, she kept winning from meet to meet as she worked on technique. On February 11th though, Laughlin came east for the PTFCA Track Carnival at Lehigh, and the Shot really took off. By the time the dust settled, and they had gone back and forth in the lead, Laughlin finished with a PR and then US#1 of 46-11.75, with Shump at a then US#3 of 46-05, an indoor PR.

2/11 PTFCA Track Carnival @ Lehigh University
LAUGHLIN: 44' 1/2", 44' 8 1/4", 44'6" SHUMP: 42'5", 42'7 3/4", 43'7 1/4"
����������Laughlin had a lead of over a foot, and threw last. The progression of throws in the finals was as good as it gets in a head-to-head of this level.
SHUMP: 45'3 1/4" - LAUGHLIN: 45'1 1/4" 
SHUMP: 45'2 3/4" - LAUGHLIN: 45'9"
SHUMP: 46' 5 1/4" - LAUGHLIN: 46'11 3/4"

Born to throw. But only after being discovered, recruited, cajoled...

So where do these great throwers come from? Well, it was Beaver County Track Club coach Mike Heiser who spotted Laughlin in 7th grade at the middle school sports signup. "You have to get them interested in track before other sports." To keep the Beaver County athletes involved, he runs a winter program through the county YMCA. They meet four nights a week, running two and doing agility, plyometrics and lifting the other two.

Heiser says that even though Laughlin, like Shump in AAA, has a state title (her's was in AA in the 2005 PIAA Outdoor championships), "this is the first year she has lifted really hard. It's really making a difference with her explosiveness."

Laughlin says the Shot Put kind of grew on her. It had taken from that 7th grade sports signup when she heard the words..."no, you're a thrower," to her current status as a Division I prospect. Through high school, she eventually dropped the Olympic Development soccer and picked up winter track. Then she dropped club soccer and picked up summer track. And finally this year, she didn't play soccer on her high school team. The transition was complete, and the results are showing. She has had official visits to UTEP, Tennessee, New Mexico State and throwing power Florida State. She has a trip planned for Texas State, and has made an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech.

Shump comes from a throwing family. Her brothers were throwers. But like Laughlin and Fetter, she is an all-around athlete. In fact, while she was winning her 2nd state championship in the AAA Shot Put at 2005 Outdoor States, she was back-and-forth to compete as a top pitcher for the Penncrest softball team which was involved in the state playoffs. While both Laughlin and Fetter have all-time PR's this season, indoor or outdoor, Shump has the best PR of the three, a 48-00.25 she tossed at her league meet in 2005. That mark or beyond happens to be the indoor goal for all three girls.

The state meet record is just over 49'. A record may fall.

From his perspective, Hempfield coach Dave Murray sees that as realistic for all three athletes. "It's an exceptional year. One will get close to 50. I'm just not sure which one." Murray is also impressed with Shump. Unlike her two taller competitors, Laughlin and Fetter. "For being so small, she can really put it out there. She has very good technique."

Fetter got into the sport through friends. In fact, she was the trainer for the throwers in 7th grade. Someone along the way handed her a shot, and she out-threw the best on the team. A boy. She threw in a couple of meets in 8th grade, and then got fully involved in 9th.

Fetter doesn't have to go very far for good competition. All she has to do is go to practice. Part of this great year is the group of exceptional sophomores who include Shump, Gray, West Chester East's Alanna Owens, Neshaminy's Gabriella Rinehart, and Central Dauphin's Anna Muzio...  along with Fetter's teammate, Kim Kanala. "I push her in the weight room. I work with her on technique. I never really had someone (on my team) push me."

Fetter was 6th indoor last year, and 2nd to Shump in AAA Outdoor. "I was disappointed. I want to take 1st at States. I know I have the potential."

Fetter had a slight detour on her way to her recent PR. In early December she was involved in a car accident and had stitches in her legs. She missed two weeks. Then, in early January she missed a little more time when she got sick. She wanted to keep going both times, but her coach wanted her to back off. "So we compromised."

Her confidence is high entering the state meet. "Every year I have peaked at the right time. I trust the coach. And this year, we have been killing it in the weight room." Fetter has made a verbal commitment to Division I Marshall University in West Virginia.

For her part, sophomore Shump has now become a seasoned veteran. A two-time state champ who has competed at both indoor (7th 2005) and outdoor (5th 2005) nationals, Shump is ready for the competition and the pressure of being the defending champ. "I just try to keep a level head, stay warm and concentrate on what I need to do, concentrate on my technique, and the little things I need to do."

She is not surprised by the depth of this year's class of throwers. "It comes with competition when you raise the bar. It gets your adrenaline up and gets you to push yourself. I think I am ahead of where I was last year, but as a freshman, I didn't know who the competition was and what I should be throwing."

She knows now. And on Saturday at Penn State, Shump says it could be "something special."


The head-to-head since 2005

2005 Indoor Girls Shot Put


  State Meet:   49-01.50  2/21/1998   Heather Colyer, East Juniata            

    Name                    Year School                  Finals  Points


  1 Shump, Karen                 Penncrest             45-04.75    10 

  2 Eisenhauer, Becky            Cedar Crest           43-07.25     8 

  3 Gray, Kaleena                Coatesville           40-00.50     6 

  4 Gray, Tayvon                 Coatesville          J40-00.50     5 

  5 Backel, Amy                  Northern              39-11.75     4 

  6 Fetter, Samantha             Hempfield Area (      39-10.00     3 

  7 Flagg, Brianna               Harrisburg            39-07.00     2 

  8 Hess, Heather                Kane                  39-06.75     1 

  9 Clickett, Natalie            Union City            38-05.75 

 10 Lynch, Leslie                Central Dauphin       38-04.25 

 11 Owens, Alanna                East (Westcheste      37-09.50 

 12 Hambrick, Jade               North Allegheny       37-03.00 

 13 Veney, Jordan                Baldwin               37-01.25 

 14 Johnson, Katie               Interboro             37-00.25 

 15 Thornton, Tiffany            Bishop McDevitt       36-06.00 



2005 Outdoor Girls Shot Put AAA


 NFHS Record: ! 54-10.75  2003        Michelle Carter, Red Oak HS, TX         

 PIAA Record: R 50-01.25  1980        Elaine Sobansky, Trinity HS 7           

NFHS Hnr Rol: #    44-00                                                      

    Name                    Year School                  Seed     Finals  Points


  1   414 Shump, Karen         9 Penncrest HS        43-06.50   44-05.00#   10 

  2   252 Fetter, Samantha    11 Hempfi              43-10.75   42-08.75     8 



2005 Outdoor Girls Shot Put AA


 NFHS Record: ! 54-10.75  2003        Michelle Carter, Red Oak HS, TX         

 PIAA Record: R 47-03.50  1998        Heather Coyler, EastJuniataHS 3         

NFHS Hnr Rol: #    44-00                                                      

    Name                    Year School                  Seed     Finals  Points


  1   100 Laughlin, Allyn     11 Center              42-08.00   43-05.50    10 

  2   580 Clickett, Natalie   11 Union City A        41-06.00   40-04.75     8 

  3   273 Hess, Heather       11 Kane                38-05.00   40-02.50     6




2006 Indoor State List as of February 21, 2006


1.   47-06.50     Laughlin, Allyn    PA Center     2006    2/18/2006 TSTCA Indoor Championships

2.   46-05.25     Shump, Karen    PA Penncrest      2008      2/11/2006 PTFCA Indoor Track Carnival

3.   45-02.00     Fetter, Samantha      PA Hempfield Area     2006 2/18/2006 TSTCA Indoor Championships

4.   42-00.50     Clickett, Natalie  PA Union City Area   2006 2/3/2006\ Slippery Rock HS Inv #2

5.   42-00.50     Hess, Heather     PA Kane Area      2006      2/3/2006  Slippery Rock HS Inv #2

6.   40-07.75     Gray, Kaleena     PA Coatesville     2008      1/21/2006 11th New Balance Games

7.   40-06.75     Kanala, Kim PA Hempfield Area    2008      1/11/2006 TSTCA Indoor Meet #2

8.   38-08.00     Owens, Alanna    PA East HS (West Chester)       2008 12/23/2005 DVGTCA Indoor Meet #4

9.   38-07.25     Moses, Vanita     PA Neshaminy    2007      2/4/2006  DVGTCA Indoor Meet #9

10.  38-03.00     Hambrick, Jade   PA North Allegheny  2007 2/18/2006 TSTCA Indoor Championships

11.  38-01.50     Guldin, Lindsey   PA North Schuylkill   2007 1/6/2006 Emrey/ESU Warrior Classic

12.  38-00.00     Goetter, Krysten PA Hatboro Horsham 2006 2/17/2006 DVGTCA Meet of Champions

13.  37-09.50     Williams, Jackqulain  PA Milton Hershey      2006 2/4/2006 Gill Athletics Invitational

14.  37-09.00     Tack, Jess    PA Hershey  2006     1/21/2006      Maroon and Gold Invitational

15.  37-07.00     Rinehart, Gabriella    PA Neshaminy   2008 12/30/2005 Robert J. Burdette Indoor Classi

16.  37-03.00     Muzio, Anna PA Central Dauphin   2008      1/21/2006 Maroon and Gold Invitational



is published by
Student Sports

John Dye - founder and editor in chief
Marc Davis - senior editor
Steve Underwood - senior editor
Donna Dye - features editor
Rich Gonzalez - DyeStatCal co-editor
Doug Speck - DyeStatCal co-editor
Kirsten O'Hara - business and marketing manager