Emilee Deishl makes a habit of surpassing goals.
“I’m really big on making goals for myself,” the Central Valley senior said. “I try to make sure they’re reasonable and attainable, but that’s how I motivate myself.”
Deishl’s goal for her final season: throw 140 feet and finish in the top three at the State Class 4A track and field meet last weekend in Tacoma.
But on the final day of her final prep season, Deishl was 10 feet shy of her goals.
“I’m a big competitor,” Deishl said. “When I’m in a competition I just want to beat the person who’s in front of me. At districts, a girl threw 129 on her last throw. I was at 128. I knew I had to come up with a big throw and I did – I threw 130. That plays a huge part in the competition.”
Throughout her senior season Deishl had struggled to break 130 feet and had set a personal best mark of 131 at the Eastern 4A Regional meet.
As an event, throwing the javelin does not look all that difficult. Making it look that way is technically demanding.
“It’s not a natural movement for your body,” Deishl explained. “Technically, there are so many things you can do wrong that it can be frustrating. For me, my challenge all year was to increase my speed, to be faster.”
One of the marvels of the event is how, when all those techniques come together, huge improvement is possible.
“I threw 139-4 with my first throw and that was a big PR,” Deishl said. “That really got my adrenaline going and I kept replaying the feeling of that throw. It’s weird – it’s all about the feeling you get when you throw and I held onto it.
“I kept telling myself ‘I’m right there, I can do it.’ At that point I was just four inches behind the leader. I had my last throw; I wanted to make it my best ever.”
In the end, it all came down to one throw. Sitting in second place, Deishl’s final throw would be followed by Brooke Randall’s. The Eastmont Wildcat was the state’s leading thrower all season.
“I didn’t do anything different with the last throw,” Deishl said. “Once you throw it, you just know it’s a good throw. I walked off the runway, telling myself that I did nothing wrong with that one.”
It only takes a minute or so to measure a throw at a state track meet. When it’s the last throw of your career and your veins are mainlining adrenaline, it feels like forever.
“When I saw the number they put up, they reversed the last two numbers,” Deishl laughs. “They put it up as a 143-1 and I just about had a heart attack. They changed it to 141-3, but I was still so excited that I was shaking.”
That moment, she says, is what her state meet, indeed her high school career, was all about. She’d accomplished what she set out to do. The fact that Randall came to throw 141-4 and take the gold medal by an inch is immaterial.
“I could not be happier about it,” Deishl said, the words dancing in festive circles. “I made her earn it. I reached my goal, I got the school record and I got my medal all in one big bag.”
Deishl was a softball player through middle school, but fell in love with the javelin during a P.E. class. As a freshman at Walla Walla High School, she turned out for track, found she was good at it and set her sights on steady improvement.
“When I was a sophomore I started to think about throwing in college,” she said.
She will do just that, heading to Eastern Washington University in the fall with solid prospects for earning a partial scholarship in the future. Goal met.
“When I was a junior, my goal was to throw 125,” she said.
She accomplished that goal with a throw of 128 feet. Another goal met.
Deishl is excited about the college track season.
“I really clicked with the coach, Marica Mecklenburg,” she said. “I know there is another 30 feet in me somewhere.”
Deishl points to current Eastern freshman Michelle Coombs, who won the Big Sky Championships with a throw of 163-1 and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Division I championships.
“She got to Eastern with a PR of 140-feet,” Deishl said. “Her first year there she’s now throwing 163. That’s the kind of improvement I want to find.”
The Eagles asked Deishl to shut down her throwing for the summer. Instead, she’ll hit the weight room and work to further improve her speed. She begins training with her Eastern coaches in September and will begin throwing again in November in preparation for the 2010 spring season.
“By the time I’m done with this sport, I want to throw 170 feet,” she said. “Sounds like a pretty lofty goal, I know, but I can do it.”
It’s a goal.