DES MOINES — As the TV flickered, Keegan Tritle’s eyes lit up.
The event being broadcast?
Young Tritle’s thoughts?
“I thought it would be pretty cool to try it,” recalled the sophomore Lisbon thrower.
Tritle dug deep for a personal record-shattering heave of the shot in Thursday’s Class 1A state track meet at Drake Stadium.
The heavy orb flew 53 feet and one-quarter inch — and beat Clay Meinders of AGWSR’s second-place toss of 52-05.75.
“I saw him throw it and was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to crank one out here,” said Tritle, whose previous best throw of 51-4 came a week ago at Belle Plaine. “I just went through the mechanics and threw one. I read it, 53-0.2. It was pretty awesome.”
It also came on his last throw.
Muscles tightened, then uncoiled.
Good throw, he thought.
Boom and wait.
“It’s a moment of suspense,” Tritle said. “You kneel down and you’re like, ‘Can it be, can it be?’ Then he announces the number and it just (brings) relief. Feels great.”
Tritle’s titanic toss etched his name in the No. 1 slot in the school record books.
He entered the meet as the No. 4 seed and wasn’t sure he’d be able to outdistance athletes such as Meinders and Springville star Jake Hulett, who took third.
“I proved it today,” Tritle said. “It’s down in there somewhere.”
Now, to find it consistently.
“It’s all about footsteps,” said Tritle, a second-generation thrower. “It’s all about technique and how you balance things.”
That includes emotions, which sometimes can get a bit intense when dad, Mike — a former shot-putter at Center Point-Urbana — goes into coaching mode.
“He pushes me really, really hard,” said Tritle, whose pre-adolescent fascination with the sport led to the breaking of junior high records before Thursday’s breakthrough. “When he does, I think of him, like, ‘Wow, he’s being such a jerk today.’ Well, e just wants the best and it paid off today, all the pushing that he does.”
Lisbon’s Austin Springsteen pushed toward a possible win in Thursday’s Class 1A state track and field 3,200-meter run.
All looked good until a split-second finish — when Ackley AGWSR’s Isaac Montes managed to beat him by a nose.
“It’s tough to lose a race like that,” said Springsteen, who led most of the race and staved off Montes’ last-lap charge until coming out of the final turn. “He just ran a really good race. I think we both PR’d by, like, 20 seconds or something.”
Montes sliced through the tape in 9:46.13.
Springsteen, in 9:46.14.
“I trusted my kick,” said Springsteen, who had hoped to score a podium-topping win to add to former Lion Conner Smock’s four consecutive crows in the event. “He was just a little better today.”
AGWSR ended day one atop the points chart with 28. Manson-Northwest Webster ran second with 20, followed by Lisbon (18) and Springville (10).