LANDOVER — Chett Brunner watched the 12-pound shot put land, clapped his hands together, shouted, and pumped his fists toward the ground in celebration.
The Century High School senior returned to the pit to watch as the distance was measured — 52 feet, 4 inches — and celebrated once more. His Knights teammates watched from a distance and cheered after they witnessed Brunner’s reaction to another personal-record throw Monday at the Frostbite Invitational at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Center.
Brunner’s new PR tops Class 2A and is the third best distance in Maryland, according to performances tracked by athletic.net. Oakdale senior Nicholas Rohwer is second in 2A at 48-1.5.
“It was a big PR, I PR’d by over two feet and I’ve been training really hard all this week during break,” said Brunner, whose preliminary throw Monday was 49-6. “This is huge, and I had one of the best series of my life, three throws over 50 feet.”
Howard’s Collin Greene leads the state with a 54-foot toss, while Kenneth King of Huntingtown threw 52-7 at the Howard County Winter Festival on Dec. 21 for second longest, according to athletic.net.
Brunner’s track and field exposure began in the field, but in the high jump. He was a sophomore at Century when he made the switch to shot put.
“My parents begged me to do shot put, and high jump didn’t work out so they told me to do shot put,” Brunner said. “I was skeptical at first, but thought, ‘All right, you know what, I’m going to do it,’ and after my first meet, I just loved it so I kept working hard to get to where I am now.”
Brunner reached 30 feet at a tri-meet between Century, Boonsboro, and Walkersville during the 2018 outdoor season. He threw 34-3.75 at the Carroll County Open Championships a week later and finished second.
He continued to improve when the 2019 indoor season arrived, and his best throw last winter came Jan. 5 at the Smithsburg Invitational (44-5.5). Brunner finished fifth at the county meet, fourth at the 2A West meet, and threw 44-5 to take fifth at the 2A state meet.
Brunner threw 45-5 to place second in shot put at the outdoor county meet behind champion Evan Bare. He closed out his junior season with a third-place finish at regionals, and took sixth at states.
The nine-time reigning county champion Knights have participated in four meets this winter, and Brunner has two victories and two second-place finishes so far. Century won three straight indoor 2A West titles before finishing second to Oakdale last winter.
The Knights won back-to-back indoor state meet championships in 2017 and 2018.
“Holistically as a team, it’s always beneficial for us just with depth across different event to have those athletes that can push those numbers in the field events,” Knights coach Dyron Johnson said. “It helps scoring overall when you get to championship season and it gives the runners something to pay attention to knowing we have those field events with strength behind us.”