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This is the tenth in a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2006-07. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series will include boys and girls distance, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, and multi-events. These will be followed by the DyeStat Athlete of the Year award. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account.

Text by Dave Devine - Photos by Kirby Lee and Vic Sailer

  Walter Henning
For all of Walter Henning’s big meet triumphs, his ultimate ascension to the top of the high school all-time hammer throw list came in the relatively low-key setting of his own backyard. He threw 255-11 in a special hammer competition on the Sunday after the main St. Anthony’s Invitational on May 5th, finally surpassing Jacob Freeman’s 1999 HSR 253-03. Henning added another laurel by beating his own US Junior hammer record with a 241-05 winning toss at the USATF Junior Nationals. If anything, he had a better campaign than last year, adding more records and an impressive new focus on the shot put to his repertoire.

First came indoors, where Henning turned a throws double at NSIC in the Armory, first winning the shot put with a 64-01.75 surprise over Jimmie Pacifico OH (who was competing at NIN the same weekend), then setting another HSR in the weight throw with his 86-05.50 triumph. Outdoors he turned his focus to the hammer again, but still hit a monster PR 68-11.75 in the shot put that left him US#2 for the season in that event.

Entering the Nike Outdoor National meet, Henning was as strong a favorite in the hammer as there can be on that weekend in Greensboro. He didn’t disappoint, despite a shaky outing that saw him foul several throws before reaching 249-0 to put away sophomore upstart Conor McCullough (240-11).

Henning’s summer farewell tour (before heading off to the University of North Carolina) concluded with hammer wins at USATF Juniors (241-05) and Pan Am Juniors in Brazil (229-03). As a Tarheel, Henning plans to redshirt his freshman year to focus on qualifying for future international competitions.

Defining Performances

1st NSIC WT – 86-05.50 (HSR)
1st NSIC SP – 64-01.75
1st St. Anthony’s Invite SP – 68-11.75
1st St. Anthony’s Invite HT – 255-11 (HSR)
1st Golden West HT – 254-02
1st NON HT – 249-00
1st USATF Jrs. HT – 241-05 (US Jr. Record)
1st Pan Am Jrs. HT – 229-03

  Jimmie Pacifico
Pacifico flat-out dominated the high school shot put ranks, racking up 10 of the top 11 throws of the outdoor season. It’s a testament to the sort of year that Walter Henning was having that he was the only US thrower able to break up Pacifico’s stranglehold. The “line in the sand” truly separating Pacifico from the rest of the country was the 71-foot mark, and he surpassed it twice, reaching his PR 71-06.25 at his Ohio district meet, good for #7 performer all-time. Most of Pacifico’s best putting, indoors and out, took place within the confines of Ohio, but the Vandalia Butler senior ventured across state lines for the major season-ending competitions.

With an indoor PR of 65-05.50 entering the March championship weekend, Pacifico was a strong favorite at both the NSIC and NIN meets. At NSIC he couldn’t overcome a great first throw from Walter Henning, and recorded the only blemish on his senior campaign with a runner-up to the weight- and hammer throw specialist. Turning his sights south, Pacifico bolted down to NIN in Maryland and tossed a 65-00.00 winner.

After owning Ohio throughout the spring, Pacifico came to Greensboro NC for Nike Outdoors with the only throws over 70 feet in the nation and no Henning in the field. Still, he went into the fifth round trailing Michael Putman of Florida. Pacifico responded with a 64-08.00 heave in round five to move into the lead for good. Hoping to approach 72-feet, but instead falling seven feet short of his PR, a disappointed Pacifico still reveled in his second national title of the year.

Defining Performances

1st Vandalia Invite SP – 65-05.50
1st NIN SP – 65-00.00
2nd NSIC SP – 62-05.75
1st OH League Meet SP – 71-04.75
1st OH District Meet SP – 71-06.25
1st NON SP – 64-08.00

  Iain Trimble
Just as Jimmie Pacifico and Walter Henning were preeminent in their throws events this year, Iain Trimble of Shawnee Heights KS was far and away the top javelin thrower in 2007. He was the only thrower over 220 feet this season, and he reached that distant sector multiple times. He won Nike Outdoor Nationals with a 222-02 heave, but it was the 229-07 at his Centennial league meet that moved him way up the all-time HS javelin list to #5.

As was the case with Pacifico, most of Trimble’s top marks came in-state, but he did travel to Nike Outdoor Nationals and USATF Juniors to take on some of the top throwers in the country. In Greensboro, Trimble saved his best throw for last en route to a ten foot win. The powerful senior led from the get-go with his 213-04 opener, and that would have been sufficient to secure the win, but Trimble let fly with a 222-02 monster in the sixth round that was the second longest in NON history.

Trimble’s sole stumble of the season came at USATF Juniors, where he may not have been expected to beat American junior record holder Christopher Hill of McNeese State, but he certainly was expected to place in the top three. He eventually found himself off the medal stand after, first University of Colorado’s Kevin Fasing, and then HS soph Justin Shirk, passed him in the closing rounds. Trimble’s fifth-round 211-01 held up for fourth and capped an otherwise superlative season.

Defining Performances

1st KS Centennial League meet JT – 229-07
1st KS 5A Regional JT – 224-03
1st KS 5A State meet JT – 223-05
1st NON JT – 222-02
4th USATF Jrs. JT – 211-01

  Luke Bryant
Luke Bryant didn’t manage to score the yearly list-leader in the boys’ discus throw (that mark went to Oklahoma junior Geoffrey Tabor at 209-05), but the Clearwater KS senior hauled in almost every other major distinction in the spring of 2007. After winning the Kansas 4A state title with a then-PR 205-05, Bryant went on a breathtaking thirteen-day tear that saw him haul in titles at Great Southwest, Golden West and Nike Outdoor Nationals.

June 2nd Bryant won at the Great Southwest meet in Albuquerque, NM (197-08), and on June 10th he took the Golden West Invitational in Folsom, CA (205-10), setting up a showdown at NON with US#1 Tabor. The expected match-up never quite materialized, as Tabor struggled to a fourth place finish while Bryant completed his two-week hat-trick with his 201-07 winner.

The winning wasn’t quite over, however, as Bryant used a runner-up finish to collegian Darius Savage (UCLA) at USATF Juniors to propel him into the Pan Am Junior meet in Brazil, where he contributed to a US junior goldrush with his 195-00 winner using the junior-weighted discus.

Defining Performances

1st KS 4A State meet DT – 205-05
1st Great Southwest DT – 197-08
1st Golden West DT – 205-10
1st NON DT – 201-07
2nd USATF Jrs.DT – 193-03 (jr. discus)
1st Pan Am Jrs. DT – 195-00 (jr. discus)

  Honorable Mention 

Conor McCullough CA – Walter Henning may be the name US track fans most associate with the HS hammer throw, but by the time Chaminade CA soph Conor McCullough has finished with his prep career, he may have erased all of Henning’s marks. He’s already off to a good start, owning the freshman and sophomore class records that used to belong to Henning. His 243-11 PR this year surpassed Henning’s soph mark, and set up a NON competition that was closer than many expected. McCullough went on to win the USATF Youth Nationals with a youth-weight hammer record of 237-11, then star for the US at the World Youth Games in Ostrava where he led all qualifiers with a 249-03 before settling for fourth in the finals.

Justin Shirk PA – If Conor McCullough is the rising throws star from the West, Shirk is his complement from the East. The Central Dauphin PA 10th grader already owned the freshman class record in the javelin before undertaking a sophomore campaign that saw him claim the soph class record with his 219-04 PR, finish 5rd at NON, and then usurp list-leader Iain Trimble with his 3rd place, 215-01, finish as the top prep at the USATF Junior Nationals.

Michael Putman FL – The aptly-named senior from Florida wasn’t among the farthest shot putters in the nation, but he managed to step up when it counted most. He placed serious pressure on Jimmie Pacifico at NON before settling for third (63-11.00), scored gold medals at Golden South (63-03.00) and USATF Junior Nationals.(61-07.50), and cut his teeth internationally with a fifth place finish at Pan Am Juniors (57-05.00-jr. weight shot).

Joe Canavan CA – The burly, hirsute senior from Palm Desert CA didn’t venture to NIN or NON, but his 67-01.50 bomb to win the California State meet was the top shot put mark by an individual not named Pacifico or Henning. He also won major multi-state events like the Simplot Games, Arcadia Invitational and Golden West. In the telling statistic of head-to-head competition, he was 2-0 against closely-matched rival Colin Boevers of UT.

Derek Johnson CA - Agoura senior Johnson was another Cali thrower who declined to make the cross-country trip to NON, but his 205-05 at the AVC Throws Fest was a very close US#3 for the discus in 2007. He won the California state meet with 203-06, took gold at Mt. Sac with 197-02 and triumphed at Arcadia with 192-06.


Year-End Awards Index