Chillicothe HS Junior Kelow Takes State Discus Title Saturday
Only medal winner of six CHS state-meet participants, Kelow flung discus 162'8" after missing out on shot put medal by 1/4 inch
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
JEFFERSON CITY — Shrugging off the extreme disappointment of missing out on a state medal in the shot put by a sliver, Chillicothe High School junior thrower Damarcus Kelow, on his third of four attempts, not only erased all doubt about his being on the discus throw medals stand Saturday at the Class 3 track-and-field state championships, but about what step he would be on.
The top one.
Owning a regular-season best of just in excess of 170’ and several others around or over 160’, Kelow delivered the discus 162’8” (49.59 meters) on his third try, elevating himself from second place, just over a foot behind, to over seven feet in front.
When no competitor improved on their own previous bests the rest of the way, the Hornet had gained what would prove to be CHS’ only 2021 state-meet medal, in addition to its first state-meet individual title since both Walker Graves and Brett Shaffer did that in 2018.
After missing out on a medal in the shot put by fouling twice and having a poorer second-best attempt than two others whose bests also were measured at 47’2-1/4” – incredibly, Kelow could have finished fifth with just a half-inch more on his third-round toss, the Chillicothean also fouled on his initial attempt in the discus.
In the second round for the second group of competitors, he put himself right in the thick of the chase for the title with a fling of 154’2” (47m), only 14 inches behind leader Alex Richardson of Buffalo, who had immediately preceded the Hornet with a throw of 155’4”, momentarily boosting the lead Richardson had held after one round by seven feet.
When their turns came back around, Richardson figuratively flinched and Kelow pounced.
Richardson fouled on his third try, then could only watch when the Chillicothe 11th grader hit a big one. Off the disc sailed to almost the 50-meters marking on the course. When the precise measurement came in about 30 seconds later, Kelow had zoomed past Richardson by more than seven feet with each having one more opportunity.
With no one else having launched anything more than 150’, it became a do-or-take-second scenario for Richardson as he stepped into the ring for one last try. While clean, it was quickly obvious it would be no threat to Kelow’s lead, falling to earth at less than 135’.
That left Kelow and Larry Minner of Chesterfield’s Westminster Christian Academy to set the final standings.
With Minner having taken second in the shot put earlier and having won his sectional meet with a throw of over 150’, Kelow could not count on that opponent not doing something spectacular on his final throw. However, in going all out to try to extend his lead even more, the CHS throw fouled a second time, leaving it up to Minner.
The St. Louis-area school’s junior, with merely one counting throw among his three previous attempts, Minner also had to try to maximize his last throw, leading to him fouling, too. The crown was Kelow’s by a final margin of 7’4”.
Of Chillicothe’s other five state participants, none managed a placement higher than 10th.
Aside from Kelow’s ninth place in the shot put, the highest spot for a CHS contestant was junior Tristan Forck placing 10th in the high jump at 6’3/4”. He would have needed to get over the next height up – 6’1-1/2” – to get in the top eight.
In the boys’ pole vault, sophomore Gavin Funk finished in a tie for 11th, clearing only the opening height of 11’5”. Senior teammate Rudy Yutzy was not able to get over 11’5” in three tries, so he shared 15th place.
Also finishing 11th in her state meet debut was Jolie Bonderer. The freshman ran a 5:38.39.
Wrapping up the Chillicothe corps at Jefferson City High School’s Adkins Stadium was junior Braxten Johnson. He finished 12th in the 110-meters high hurdles in 16.42 seconds.