LA CROSSE - Kennedy Blahnik's goal Friday at the Division 3 state track and field meet Friday was to break her own record in the shot put.
She did it - twice. The first however, came in warmups and then she saved her best for last.
With her third straight state title in the event wrapped up, Blahnik was down to her final throw and once the shot left her right hand there was no doubt.
The Algoma junior recorded a distance of 49 feet, 1 inch, breaking her previous record of 47-11.
"I just wanted to get over the record, because I was two feet under it all year," Blahnik said. "I didn't know I would throw 49 feet.
"I could tell where it fell on the line. It felt good, too. One warmup throw would've be been the state record, too."
Blahnik's coach and father, Dean, didn't know what to expect for the final throw.
"I knew she had it in there," he said. "I didn't know if she would get it or not. Get to that last throw and there's the finality and sometimes you end up fouling and sometimes you stay in. She stayed in and it went far and it was great."
When the shot left her hand it looked like a record in the making. This throw had a different feeling. Maybe because it was a state record in the making.
"I saw that, 'Whoa, this thing is going,'" Dean said. "That kept sailing. She got everyting behind it."
Before her final throw, Kennedy went to her father for advice and it was simple.
"It was just, speed, speed, speed," Dean said. "Keep it in the ring and throw."
Blahnik had a slow start to her season. First, the weather was awful, limiting her chances to compete and, second, she changed her technique, going from a glide to a spin.
That didn't work early on, so she went with what she knew best.
"I glided last year," she said. "We started spinning at the start of the year and that pushed me back. The lack of meets and reps. It had to be coming."
Blahnik entered the meet healthier than last year when a knee injury slowed her and required surgery last summer. However, this past basketball season she tore her posterior cruicatle ligament and missed about 10 games.
She said that allowed her to run less and Friday the knee wasn't an issue at all.
"My knee last year was bad but I had another (injury) this winter," she said."It felt good, it kept me out of running. I don't know if I was more fresh."
The state title was the second for Blahnik since March, as she helped the basketball team win a state title. She could win another state title in the discus on Saturday, but so far she's enjoyed 2013.
"It's awesome," Kennedy said. "Completely different feelings. Being with a team for five months, working together. This one, it's yourself and my dad helps me a lot. They're both awesome and I know it's not very common. I'm pretty excited about it."
When her distance was announced, Kennedy jumped into Dean's arms. It was pure joy, but the father/coach was already thinking about 2014.
That will be the last time Kennedy has a chance to break the state's all-time record of 49-4 1/4, which is held by Jessica Maroszek of Seymour (2010).
"First thing I told her is Maroszek has you by a couple inches yet," Dean said. "We have a year to get that."
The key to breaking the all-time record could be health. If Blahnik avoids the sideline, so to speak, she just might do it next year.
"I'm hoping," Dean said. "She has to stay healthy. The shot put is 50 percent legs. I thought the shot put was coming all week and it all come together."
Blahnik was a heavy favorite in the event and won by almost nine feet. She made it look easy but she knows in sports anything can happen.
"It feels awesome," she said. "I know nothing's guaranteed. I know I want to be an eight-time state champ."
Five down, three to go.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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