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Cocalico’s Janis caps career by winning State gold in javelin
With two years of experience at the State Meet under his belt, Cocalico senior Jhet Janis knew how important it was to fire the first shot.
Get one out there early, and make the rest of the field chase you.
That was the gameplan going into Saturday’s State javelin competition, and Janis executed to a “T.” On his first throw of the day, Janis released it, watched it sail off into the distance, and gave a big fistpump.
His throw of 203-11 was on the board, and it was up to the competition to match it.
No one did.
With that throw, Janis, the University of Oregon signee, became the sixth State champion in Cocalico track and field history. His throw was just 11 inches farther than runner-up Luke Smorey of Baldwin, who reached 203-0 on his second throw of the afternoon.
“I definitely wanted to win, and I worked this week on just getting after it on my first throws because I knew if I put one out there early, then they’d have to chase me,” Janis said moments after his victory. “The top five guys all threw 200 this year so I knew it was going to be tight. That’s why I needed to get one out there.”
Janis, who placed seventh a year ago, said while he felt some pressure to win the gold, he relied on his experience to carry him through.
“There was some (pressure), but at the same time this was my third year here so I knew that it only takes one throw,” he said. “And just watching my (friends Cole Proffitt of Manheim Central and former Cocalico teammate Kyle Felpel) win it the last couple years was pretty fun and I wanted to be there as well. I got here so I’m happy.”
Cocalico throwing coach Scott Krall also was happy. You could tell by the ear to ear grin he was wearing afterward.
“I’m just relieved because you know just how much (winning the gold) meant to Jhet,” Krall said. “For him to come out and respond the way he did…we tried to come out and send a message early and he did that. And that was able to hold up in a stacked field. There were probably seven or eight guys who had a chance to win…It was just relief and happiness for him and his family. For him to come and do it on the biggest stage is a testament to his will.”
Janis and Smorey were the only ones to reach a distance of 200 or better prior to finals, and no one came close to hitting one in the final round. In the end, only Smorey’s final throw stood in the way of a gold medal for Janis. And when Smorey’s throw was measured out at 190-7, the gold officially belonged to Janis, who thanked a lot of people who along the way helped get him to the top of the podium.
“I put a lot of time in but I definitely have to give thanks to my coaches,” he said. “I spent countless hours with Coach Krall…every day, weekends, Saturdays and Sundays…during football season I was even going in there and working out with him. I definitely have to give him a lot of the credit because I wouldn’t have been here without him.”
“This is a good way to go out,” he continued. “It was the last time I was throwing in a Cocalico uniform, and I think I represented the school pretty well. A lot of people from my school came up to support me…our athletic director was here, some of my teammates came up, family…that’s a big help too. I felt really good having them here, and that kind of gave me some motivation today to get it done.”