Long tosses: Stephanus, Lane show their throwing ability at Frank Woodburn Invite

Norwood High School’s Mollie Lane won the discus at the Frank Woodburn Invitational for the fourth straight year with a throw of 117 feet, 3 inches.

Palisade’s Nick Stephanus lets out a yell after throwing the discus Saturday at the Frank Woodburn Invitational. Stephanus won the event.

You may have to forgive Palisade throwing coach Dave Stone if he gets a little excited.

He can be spotted at the disc cage or shot put ring, whooping and hollering with the Palisade discus and shot put throwers, but it’s something he encourages.

“It’s not golf,” Stone said. “You go to these big meets and you have these world champion throwers out there and the crowd goes wild. We had Fruita kids cheering for us. It’s just something I wanted to get them a little more motivated. You seem everybody come out there and they’re always flat. You see (Olympic thrower) Adam Nelson hopping up and getting crazy with it. I want the same for my kids. They throw farther when they are excited.”

Apparently, it works.

Palisade’s Nick Stephanus threw the discus 153 feet, 8 inches Saturday to win the Frank Woodburn Invitational at Lincoln Park. Teammate Tanner Smith tossed the shot put a personal record, 41-9.75 and freshman Savannah Hanson is throwing the disc 41 feet farther than she did at the start of the season only a few weeks ago.

Stephanus and Smith led the Bulldogs to a third-place finish with 98.33 points. Fruita Monument won the boys title with 117 points. Moffat County was second with 106.33.

The Wildcats, known for their distance runners, were led by sprinter Martin Zupan, who won the 100- and 200-meter dash. Fruita’s 800 and 3,200 relay teams took first place as well.

“We’ve always been a close family, the whole team,” Zupan said. “We’ve never really thought of it as distance runners doing the best and sprinters second. We just get out there, run our best and at the end of the day see what comes out of it.”

The junior won the 100 in 11.32 seconds. He took first in the 200 in 23.06.

“Everything feels like it’s happening slower,” Zupan said. “It’s a great feeling running and passing people. I love it.”

Glenwood Springs won the girls team title with 157.5 points. The Demons won three individual events and two relay events.

Cedaredge took second with 91 led by Sierra Williams’ victory in the 100 and 200. Palisade was third with 81.

Mollie Lane of Norwood won the girls discus at the Frank Woodburn Invitational for the fourth time in her career, giving herself some bragging rights with her brothers, Tucker and Stryker Lane, who racked up a bunch of wrestling titles.

“I finally accomplished something my brothers didn’t,” Lane said. “My uncle Rollie (Lane) was good friends with Frank Woodburn and I got to meet him when I was a freshmen. It feels special to win a track meet in his honor four times. I don’t get overshadowed by my brothers, but I feel like I’m in some way competing against them. It feels good to have something they don’t.”

Lane, who has the top discus throw in the state, is throwing an average of three to four feet farther this season than in the past.

Stephanus broke the discus school record last week with a throw of 157-7 at the Cedaredge Invitational.

“I feel really confident in the disc,” Stephanus said. “I had a solid throw, but I want to push the 160 mark. If I can throw 160 consistently, that will put me in the top three in state for sure.”

That confidence is rubbing off on Smith and the rest of the team.

“It’s great being in the group,” Smith said. “It’s a great school and people. I’ve got someone to look up to and try to beat. I’ve got good competition that push me to do better.”


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