As she sat in the sun of Woodward Stadium two weeks ago, Kaci Stansbury discussed her district winning shot put and discus championships with a measure of dissatisfaction.
What else could you expect from someone who strives for perfection in everything she does?
“I wanted a personal record at least,” she said after settling for a throw several feet shorter than her 136-1 seasonal best.
A week later, Stansbury had completed her high school sports career - which included a state trip in volleyball and participation on the district playoff basketball team - by placing twice at Star Track XIII’s State AA meet.
Her established goals, top three finishes in the discus and shot put with throws in excess of 140 and 42 feet were nearly realized.
She finished third in the discus at 128-10. The next day she placed fourth in the shot put at 40-11 1/4, just an inch off her previous best.
“She’s not exceptionally physically gifted,” said her field coach Howard Dolphin. “But she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. And, of course, she’s intelligent.”
Stansbury is the rare individual who is able to accomodate the time demands of academics and sports and excel at both.
She was one of 30 such individuals, 15 boys and girls from the Greater Spokane and Frontier League’s so recognized as their school’s scholar athletes.
Stansbury will graduate from West Valley High with a 4.0 grade point average and 10 varsity letters in three sports.
Although she will miss the comfort and security of West Valley upon graduation, Stansbury is looking forward to attending the University of Nevada at Reno on a part-track, part-academic scholarship.
“They have a good engineering school and I like mathematics and physics,” Stansbury explained.
That would seem natural for some involved with the proper dynamics of throwing weighty objects great distances.
As a high school freshman, Stansbury chose track over softball. She said it was a difficult decision but she figured that since volleyball and basketball were team sports, track would give her a chance to express her individuality.
“I’m glad I did,” she said. “If you have a bad day it won’t effect the rest of the team.”
She got the best of both as an integral part of WV’s four straight Frontier championships, and for the past two years as an individual state track placer.
She won the district shot put her junior year but wound up seventh behind teammate Aimee Aldendorf at state. This year she dominated league in both events, improving her discus distance by nearly 20 feet after attending a clinic by former Olympian Mac Wilkins. She beat Aldendorf by three inches at state.
They were among the lucky few who qualified for state in the same event. Frontier League is relegated to one berth plus those who meet a qualifying standard.
“It’s so hard to make it to state, harder than it is to place, practically,” said Stansbury.
At Nevada, where Stansbury figures she will add the hammer and may even throw the javelin, Dolphin expects substantial improvement.
“She’s involved in so many activities and trying to maintain a 4.0 she’s just doing too much,” he said. “By the time it gets to be spring she kind of gets burned out. Down there she’ll focus on one sport and I look for her to take a big jump.”
Her technique already is good, her strength will improve with more emphasis on weight lifting.
“She’s a great gal to work with and has a good attitude,” said Dolphin. “Those kinds are always going to improve.” , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: EIGHTH AT STATE West Valley’s girls track team finished eighth in the State AA meet with 27 points. In addition to those scored by Stansbury and Aldendorf, the Eagle 400 and 800 relay teams finished third in 50.18 and 1:47.18. With that, the careers of seniors Stansbury and relay members Ruth Gerber, Shawna Lydon, Jenny Lebsack and Tera Inman, all part of WV’s four-year 20-0 league record, came to a gratifying conclusion.