The fascinating story of Madison Wiltrout and the javelin got even better today.
Wiltrout is a sophomore at Connellsville High School who decided to try the javelin event only a year ago. Wiltrout and her mother, Amy, logged onto YouTube.com to try and find out the correct way to throw the javelin.
So, in the span of a year, Wiltrout has gone from not knowing how to throw the javelin, to the best javelin thrower in the history of high school track and field in the United States.
If that statement seems a little strong, it's not. This afternoon, Wiltrout set the national high school record with a throw of 185 feet, 8 inches.
Wiltrout's throw came on her first attempt at the WPIAL Class AAA central qualifier at Norwin High School. She didn't bother to throw again.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations and Track & Field News, Wiltrout's throw broke the high school record of 181 feet, 2 inches, set by Haley Crouser of Gresham, Ore., in April of 2012.
It was yet another chapter in Wiltrout's unbelievable ascent from novice to national record holder. I don't remember a story like it in Western Pennsylvania high schools, maybe ever.
Wiltrout won the PIAA championship last year, but with a throw of 151-1. That was excellent for a freshman, but who could have predicted this? Wiltrout has gone into a different world this year. She hit 160 a few times. Impressive. Then she broke the WPIAL record with a throw of 168-5 two weeks ago at the Penn Relays. It was the second-best throw in the country.
Then last week, she threw only 160-10 at the Baldwin Invitational.
Then on the first throw at Norwin today ... Well, let's let Wiltrout explain.
"I don't honestly know what happened," she said with a laugh. "I just had that plant really hard and I got more hip into it. Before on the runway, I just kept thinking to myself, 'Keep your arm back.' So I think it all just came together."
Think of it, she already had the best throw in WPIAL history and the second-best in the country this year, and she bettered it by more than 17 feet. Not to overstate things, but it is an unreal story.
"At first they said they didn't have enough tape to measure it," Wiltrout said with a laugh.
Wiltrout said the meet was stopped for about 20 minutes so that officials could measure it three different times. They brought out a metal tape to measure, which is needed to be considered for a national record.
"Honestly, I don't know if it has hit me yet that I have the national record," said Wiltrout.
And remember, she is only a sophomore!!!!!!
"It really is something to think that it was just March of last year when she really decided to try this and just learned the technique of how to do this," said Wiltrout's mother, Amy. "She has worked so hard at this. People don't understand how hard she has worked at it. She just got a brand new pair of shoes, and in one week, the toe is completely worn out from her practicing and dragging her foot. She's so determined."
To put Wiltrout's throw in perspective, consider it would be the third-best among NCAA Division I colleges this season.
With the WPIAL championships next week and the PIAA championship in two weeks, the question is how far does Wiltrout go?