Earning a trip to State is a goal for virtually every high school athlete, but for Elisha Allred the trip was the worst part of the whole experience.
The East Valley senior was struggling with the tail end of a nasty cold as she and her teammates headed off to Tacoma last week.
“I was not feeling well at all,” she said. “I did OK until we got to Ellensburg and we stopped to eat.”
Let’s just say that the food didn’t stick around long enough for Allred to benefit and the rebound was, to say the least, unpleasant.
“Once we got there and I saw my teammates start to compete, I got excited about competing myself,” Allred said. “And I started to feel a little better.”
Allred qualified for the state Class 2A state track and field meet in two events: javelin and discus. And neither event was a gimme.
“My problem in the javelin is that I throw it wrong,” she said. “I have never really gotten comfortable throwing it. I developed pain in my elbow and it got to the point where I got more benefit from not practicing it and just throwing in meets than I did from practicing.
“I just decided to go out and throw hard.”
Her first throw at state was a personal best by more than a dozen feet – flying 135 feet, 7 inches.
Each attempt after that was more and more painful. And unnecessary – no one came close to passing her.
The discus was not painful, but it was frustrating.
Allred was the top-seeded thrower going into the state meet, but there were nagging issues with her technique that refused to go away.
“I was having trouble with my right side,” she said. “I made some adjustments, but my best throws kept going out of bounds to the right.”
Her best throw, 127-7, was almost 11 feet shy of her personal best throw of 136-11. But it was good enough to win the meet and a second state title.
Talk to any serious discus thrower and they’ll give you a long list of technical elements that go into a good throw – from the position of the thrower’s ankle in the back of the circle all the way to the release and beyond.
For Allred, the season got off to a late start. Her East Valley throws coach was out for the first two weeks of turnout.
“I was coaching myself at the start of the season,” she said. “For the most part, I was just throwing hard and doing the best I could.”
In practice, it worked all season. Allred regularly turned in workout throws that sailed far beyond 140 feet.
“That was a regular thing for me this year,” she said. “I would throw 140 or better all the time. I don’t understand why I could do it in practice and not do it in a meet.”
Allred uncorked several 140-foot throws for Concordia University throws coach Jarred Rome, who stopped by an EV practice early in the season to see her.
“It was flattering that he would want to come watch me throw when he was in town,” Allred said. “He took some video of me and he was pretty excited.”
Rome wanted Allred to throw for him starting next year, but the price tag on a Concordia education was too steep. Athletic scholarships at NAIA schools are rare.
“It would have been something like $35,000 a year or more to go there and I just couldn’t afford to go,” Allred said. “I have some other options. I’m waiting to see what happens at Idaho and Washington State and I’m talking to Eastern Washington.”
Washington State just hired Idaho’s track and field coach, Wayne Phipps, to replace the retired Rick Sloan. Both programs are in flux.
“I’m not going to throw the javelin in college, I know that,” Allred said. “I want to throw the discus and the hammer in college. And if they want me to, I’ll compete in the indoor season.”
While she waits to decide on a school, Allred said she will continue to work on her primary events over the summer.
“The thing about the discus is that you have to keep working on it,” she said. “You have to keep working on your technique. Same with the hammer.”