SHIPPENSBURG - Neil Bodley's track season could have ended before it was half over thanks to an injury.
Actually, his track season did end when an aggravated hamstring took him out of the sprint events that were his bread and butter.
But his field season was just beginning. It ended at the PIAA Class AA track and field championships Saturday, not on the medal stand, but at least with him standing among the best in the state in an event that was new to him midseason.
Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
Juniata’s Neil Bodley competes in the boys Class AA discus at the PIAA?championships at Shippensburg University Saturday. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
With back-to-back personal best throws - the last was 139 feet and an inch - he was No. 12 overall in the boys discus.
"My goal today was to come out today and get better than I was seeded, so I'm happy," he said.
He should be. His last two throws beat the top mark he had in the season, and added even more to his District 6 number of 130-2.
"It's slowly climbing. I can't complain with making progress," he said. "Track and field is all about numbers and distances. It's not (always) about competing against certain people, getting places and everything."
Bodley, who had javelin experience before the injury sidelined him from running, saw the discus as a potential opportunity for him to help the team in dual meets.
I was just trying to find something that wouldn't bother my hamstring. That just happened to work out," he said. "The road to getting to states has been interesting. I was expecting to run the sprints. That didn't work out."
It did - and gave him a new vocation for his senior campaign.
"My goal for next season is to come out and improve in discus. I think I'll be doing it next year," he said. "I'm thinking I'm going to be in the sprints and discus, and maybe swap a couple of javelin throws in here and there."
Two other area athletes competed Saturday, also without ascending the medal stand. Mount Union's Tynita White made her first state appearance, and Greenwood's Emily Fisher - who did pick up hardware in the discus Friday - were in the Class AA girls shot put.
Both struggled in the event, finishing in the first flight. Fisher was 15th overall and White tied for 18th.
"I was feeling it and then it sort of just went away," said Fisher, who scratched on her first try, something she admitted may have gotten in her head.
"I want to say no, but it probably did," she said.
White, who like any sophomore coming here for the first time was more than a bit nervous, learned on the first day how stiff the competition can be at states - she arrived just in time to see a 45-foot throw in the Class AAA girls competition Friday.
"These girls throw 40 feet, 38. Oh my gosh, it's crazy," she said.
With two more chances to come back, her entry became more of a learning experience.
"I know I need to work because these girls are throwing way further than I am," she said. "I need to start lifting more weights, working more in my technique."