Westminster's Kiara Adams says shot putting, often overlooked in the world of track and field, is due a surge in popularity.
The junior is doing her best to contribute to the movement.
At yesterday's Class 3A-4A East region indoor track championships at Baltimore's 5th Regiment Armory, the rising star took one step nearer a girls state title by capturing first place by nearly 2 feet.
Thomas helped the Owls girls finish sixth in a field flooded by powerful teams from Prince George's County. Eleanor Roosevelt won the girls competition with 97.5 points, followed by Largo, Laurel and Annapolis.
High Point won the boys title with 89 points, followed by Northwestern-PG with 66 and Suitland with 51. Westminster's boys were fifth, Annapolis was seventh and Severna Park 10th.
Westminster also got top performances from Mandy Komar (second in the 1,600 meters), Emily Hester (fourth in the shot put), Becky Kuchera (fifth in the high jump and pole vault) and the fourth-place 3,200 relay.
Other Baltimore-area winners included Westminster's Jason Santucci, who won the boys 3,200 and 1,600, and Annapolis' Erin Masterson, who won the girls 1,600 and 800.
Adams unwittingly began her high school track career in ninth grade after staying late one afternoon to take a math test. As she was leaving, she ran into a friend on the track team, who asked her to try throwing the shot.
It took just a couple tosses to convince the coach to put her on the team. A week later, she captured her first Carroll County outdoor championship.
Now a junior, she has to be considered one of the favorites at the Class 3A-4A state meet on Feb. 22 at the Armory.
"You don't have to be the biggest person to get a good throw. You just have the technique behind it," she said. "The sport is 80 percent mental."
Adams said spending the past seven months competing for an outside weightlifting team -- she has snatched 137.5 pounds and clean-and-jerked 187 -- has done wonders for her track career.
Lately, the extra strength has resulted in a series of notable throws. A week ago in practice, she launched a personal best of 40 feet, 5 inches. Yesterday, despite several early slips, she went 37-6 1/2, beating Suitland's Melissa McDermott by 21 1/2 inches.
Pub Date: 2/11/99