After earning a gold watch at the Penn Relays in April for becoming the top American finisher in the discus, Tamara Ovejera has proven herself once more against throwers from around the country, becoming an All-American last weekend at the New Balance Nationals.
Ovejera, a rising senior at Thomas Johnson High School, finished fifth at the meet in Greensboro, N.C., with her throw of 137 feet, 6 inches. It was more than 5 feet shorter than her performance at the Penn Relays, but she said earning the gold watch and All-American status are the same to her.
She also competed in an event she hadn't previously tried — the hammer throw, which is not contested in Maryland high school meets. It's a violent sort of competition where the athletes turn a metal ball into a comet careening through the air and blasting into the ground usually more than 100 feet away.
“It was fun, it's the first time I've ever thrown it in competition,” Ovejera said. “I've been practicing it a little bit less than a month.”
She finished sixth in the emerging elite class, which is one step below the top division of the New Balance Nationals, with a hurl of 101-8. Walkersville's Megan Mounts also gave the odd event a whirl, finishing eighth (98-4).
Ovejera added a second-place finish in the emerging elite shot put, where Mounts took ninth.
“I was very happy because the last two years I didn't make it to the finals for the shot,” Ovejera said. “I made the finals in the discus in the emerging elite but I never placed. To come away with three medals…it's an accomplishment.”
Oakdale's Emma King ran into an oddity of her own. After clearing heights of 11 feet, 5 inches and 11-10 on her first attempts in the pole vault, she found herself facing the bar at 12-2. She didn't have quite enough thrust to get clear that height, and she came falling back down, landing on the pit box rather than the mat, spraining the arch of her foot in the process.
She tested it by jogging down the runway but did not continue vaulting. Despite the injury, she still finished eighth.
Fortunately for King and the Bears, the 400-meter relay had taken place earlier that morning and she was able to run her leg, helping the relay team to a 50.44-second finish which placed 13th in the emerging elite class.
King's teammate, rising senior Adell Remsberg, got her first taste of national competition in the triple jump and 400 relay. After scratching on her first two attempts, she jumped 36 feet to finish 15th in the emerging elite, two spots ahead of Catoctin's Hannah Stone.
“[Other meets] are going to feel like nothing,” Remsberg said, her voice barely a hoarse whisper after all the cheering over the weekend. “We're just going to be able to go out there and have fun.”
Stone entered the meet concentrating on the high jump, aiming for a 5-9 clearance that has eluded her all season. The West Virginia University recruit fell shy again, finishing ninth after clearing 5-6 1/2.
Other Frederick County participants in the meet included Oakdale's Abby Stultz and Jackie McNulty. Stultz cleared 5-2 ½ in the emerging elite high jump to finish 11th. McNulty took sixth in the freshman long jump. Catoctin's Tyler Silverman edged Thomas Johnson's Joe Kass in the discus, finishing 12th and 15th in the emerging elite respectively. Kass also competed in the emerging elite shot put, finishing 23rd.