by: JIM BESEDA/MOLALLA PIONEER - Molalla freshman Mont Child unleashed a season-best throw of 44 feet, 3 inches in last week's final Tri-Valley Conference meet of the season against La Salle and North Marion. The district championships begin Friday at North Marion High School in Aurora.Molalla’s Mont Child hopes that he has one or two more big throws left this season.

Or perhaps three big throws — one in the shot put, one in the discus, and another in the javelin.

Child, the Indians’ outstanding freshman thrower, is expected to compete in all three events during the two-day Tri-Valley Conference track and field district championships, beginning Friday at North Marion High School in Aurora. He is seeded third in the shot put with a mark of 44 feet, 3 inches, fourth in the discus at 127-9, and fifth in the javelin at 153-0, so there is almost no question that he will score some team points for Molalla.

Child needs to place first or second in one or more of the events to qualify for the May 23-24 OSAA Class 4A state championships at Eugene’s Hayward Field.

Molalla coach Carl Sniffen said he has a chance to qualify in all three.

“I think he’s going to need to have a big day, but I don’t think there’s any series of events more than the throws where people have big days," he said. “He’s poised and I think he’s a gamer. I don’t think we’ve seen what he can do in the javelin. I don’t think we’ve seen what he can do in the shot.

"He had a foul last week and he was over 45 feet in the shot, so … yeah, I think he’s got a chance to qualify in at least one of the events.”

Child is throwing the javelin for the first time this season, but he’s no stranger to either the shot or the discus. He picked up both of those in the sixth grade while competing at Molalla River Middle School under coach Dan Leighton, so he had three years to develop some technique.

There was an adjustment period this season going to the high school’s 12-pound shot and 1.6-kilogram discus after throwing an 8-pound shot and a 1-kilogram discus in middle school, but Child seems to have made a seamless transition with help from Molalla High throws coach Quinten Baxter.

The bigger adjustments this season have been in switching from the slide to the glide technique in the shot put ring, as well as adapting to stiffer competition.

“This season has been really fun,” Mont said after last week’s final regular-season home meet against La Salle Prep and North Marion at Heckard Field. “I’ve learned a lot, but sometimes it’s kind of depressing when I don’t get first.”

Sniffen likes that Child is a student of track and field.

“Mont pays attention to what other people are doing when he’s at meets,” Sniffen said. “My hope for somebody like Mont is he maybe gets into some camps in the summertime and continues to learn more about technique. The thing is, that knowledge base that you have going forward as a junior or a senior can make him really valuable, because that’s something he can pass on to younger teammates.

“I think that’s where his potential is. Again, he’s still learning. And like with a lot of young athletes, putting all of the pieces together is the hard part.”

It helps that Molalla’s boys’ team has some depth in the throwing events heading into the district meet. The Indians also have junior and team co-captain Carson Wolfe, seeded third in the discus and seventh in the shot put, as well as junior Coop Early (sixth shot put, seventh discus) and sophomore Cody Partlow (fourth javelin, fifth shot put, ninth discus).

“That helps a lot, because there’s actually competition in practice, too, instead of just in meets,” Child said. “That prepares you pretty well.”

Based on regular-season results, Estacada senior Justin Rich and La Salle senior Jacob Meek are seeded first and second, respectively, in both the shot put and the discus, while Meek and Falcons’ teammate George Lilly hold down the top two seeds, respectively, in the javelin.

That makes them the favorites to advance to state, assuming the form chart holds true. Then again, forms charts often fall apart during some of the biggest meets of the year, especially when it come to the throwing events.

Last year, Molalla’s Zachery Farner placed second in the shot put at the district meet with a throw of 47-3. He then went the state meet and stunned the field by popping a throw of 51-7 1/4 on his final attempt of the competition to win the state title.

“I’ve seen guys come out of nowhere in the javelin, too,” Sniffen said. “They have their big day at the district meet and go to state, and then they never have that big day again. But they had it when it counted.”

Sniffen said Molalla has a number of athletes in other field events as well as in several running events who appear primed for some breakout performances at the district meet.

“We’ve been training really hard and we’ve reached that place where it’s time to back off of the quantities of training and really let people gets their arms and legs back,” Sniffen said. “My expectations for all of our kids is we’re going to see improvements in all of the event areas, because of the fact that we’ve brought them to this place and now we’re going to give them a little bit of time to recover and hopefully be at their best for the district meet.”

The boys’ throwing events are spread out over the two days, beginning with the discus at 3 p.m. Friday, followed by the shot put at 5 p.m. Friday, and the javelin at noon Saturday.

Child said her goals for the meet are "to finish in the top two in district and make it to state.”

In all three throwing events?

“No, not all three,” Child said with a chuckle. “I’d be happy with one, but … that would be cool if I made it in all three.”

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