Rifle's Kuheim bummed by 2nd-place finish in shot put
LAKEWOOD — It’s not often an athlete finishes second at a state competition and then apologizes to her coaches afterward.
But that’s Joey Kuheim, a perfectionist to the core who is harder on herself than anyone else could possibly be.
The Rifle High School senior missed out on the state title she so coveted Thursday, finishing second to Sand Creek junior Mariah Walker in the Class 4A shot put at the State Track and Field meet.
Kuheim, whose toss of 43 feet fell one foot shy of Walker’s top heave, didn’t wish to speak afterwards, but her coaches weren’t short on words.
“Today she’s so upset and just wants to do better,” Bears head coach John Scrabeck said. “She’s apologetic to us, like she owes us something, but we couldn’t ask for more.”
Kuheim is not only a high-level athlete, she’s a high-level student. She’s bound for Columbia University in New York City next school year and is the second Rifle Bear to head to an Ivy League school in as many years. Sprinter Andrew Proebstle, a 2012 Rifle grad, is presently on the track and field team at Brown University.
“She never backed away from any challenge,” Scrabeck said. “They told her she has to keep a 3.5 GPA, and she held a 3.9, so Columbia is getting a pretty good gift.
“What they know from 3,000 miles away is that she threw 43 feet, and she throws 139 (in the discus), but they don’t see the 47-foot warm-up throws. They don’t see the 150 warm-up throws (in discus). They haven’t seen the work ethic she has yet, so they’re just incredibly lucky, and we’re incredibly lucky.”
Kuheim has crafted quite the high school career. She finished second in the shot put and fourth in the discus in Class 3A at state last year and third in the 3A shot put in 2011.
“She’s a real special athlete,” said Chris Bomba, the Bears’ throwing coach. “It’s not very often that you have an athlete come through that’s that motivated. With school, with sports, she does everything she can to be the best she can.”
Kuheim will close out here prep career with Saturday’s discus competition, in which she’s the third-seeded thrower.
■ Elsewhere in 4A field event action, Delta’s Bryanna Music finished 12th in Thursday’s girls shot put (37-1), and Rifle’s Brayden Smith placed 16th in the boys discus (43-10.5).
Montrose’s Brooke White and Delta’s Callie Gafford finished in an eight-way tie for 13th in the girls high jump.
Panthers fourth in 3,200 relay
Delta’s girls 3,200 relay team averted disaster and turned in quite a performance in one of Thursday’s few finals on the track at Jefferson County Stadium.
Clarissa Whiting nearly took a spill as a cluster of runners tumbled in front of her on the lead leg. She somehow kept from getting tangled up in the mess, and the Panthers that followed took advantage.
Mykayla Music, Skylyn Webb and Clarissa’s twin sister, Cleo, combined on a 9 minute, 32.92 second run to claim fourth place.
Music is the only nonsenior of the bunch. She’s a freshman.
“I’ve always looked up to them and liked watching them run,” she said. “This is pretty special.”