Loht wins again at Penn Relays

PHILADELPHIA – Laura Loht has to make room on her arm for a second wristwatch.

Loht, a graduate of Indian Valley, where she was a standout javelin thrower on the track and field team, added to her list of accomplishments when she won the event in the Penn Relays Thursday.

It was the second Penn Relays win for the Penn State athlete – she also took gold as a high school division competitor. Winners at the Penn Relays are presented with a watch.

Her throw Thursday was hardly her best, but enough to win by two feet. She threw 154 feet, 7 inches.

As is her nature, the win was tempered by the fact that she wanted to do better.

“It’s nice, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s a stepping stone – my distance isn’t what I was hoping for. It’s a work in progress.”

In addition to winning the Penn Relays, Loht has been a state champion in PIAA competition and won the Big Ten title in the event last spring.

She said it was somewhat of a surprise to win with that number.

Aside from perfect weather, she said, “It was a weird day all around. There were probably six girls coming in in the 150s.”

Only the top five stayed there. The No. 10 finisher – Penn State teammate Lauren Kenney – had a rather low 127-8 as her best throw. Loht said Kenney has had back problems that may have contributed to her low finish, along with a sector foul on what may have been her best throw.

“It’s definitely tough going in,” she said. “We were ranked 1-2 going in. The goal was just to have a Penn Stater come out with a win.”

The Nittany Lions have won the javelin four straight years.

“It’s definitely a rough sport. You never know when things are going to pop up,” Loht said. “It can go bad real fast.”

Loht said she still calls home after big finishes, and says she wouldn’t be where she is without the backing of her family and friends.

“My family’s definitely been super supportive,” she said. “It’s definitely been a ride but there hasn’t been a meet they haven’t been behind me.”

Loht, who missed the PIAA finals as a junior after medaling in her 10th-grade year, admits her own competitive nature sometimes drives her distress.

“There’s always pressure but I never felt pressure from anyone else – it’s just me,” she said. “It’s insane for people from the outside looking in.

“I’m sure when I look back in years to come it’s going to be like, I can’t believe I did that.”