Morgan Van Kooten came back from a slow start in the shot put to throw 43 feet, 0.5 inches and win the Class 1A Girls' Track and Field State Championship in the event on Friday, May 30, at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.
Van Kooten started off with a 35-foot and 37-foot throw, but followed them up with a 42 to make the finals.
"For her, those were horrendous," Lynden Christian coach Kent De Hoog said in a phone interview. "She just had to dig down, and then going into the finals she was second to the girl from Chelan who beat her last year."
In the finals Van Kooten again threw a short 38 and a low 40s, while her nemesis failed to improve her previous mark. Then on her final throw she reached the final distance of 43-00.50.
"It was a lot of hard work so it felt good to make it pay off," Van Kooten said in a phone interview. "We were both in the zone and I wanted it pretty bad."
Van Kooten was happy to have bounced back after the rough start.
"It was hard to overcome that," she said. "I talked to my dad and almost cried, but I picked myself up mentally."
De Hoog said he saw Van Kooten grow over the course of the last month due to her performance.
"It's hard to have a target on your back all year. She was able to overcome that," he said. "She was hopeful she could finish at the top, but there have been some days she struggled with technique and tweaking things, so her confidence may have been pretty low. It's a great way for her to end the year. She matched her expectations and learned some valuable things about adversity and keeping her confidence."
SHOT PUT School Dist. Pl.
Morgan Van Kooten Lynden Christian 43-00.50 1