Wester claims state championship in shot put
DES MOINES — He had nothing to lose.
With the Class 3A shot put title sealed, Mt. Pleasant’s Emmett Wester had one throw remaining in his high school career, so — with his whole family watching — he gave it everything he had left.
Turns out that what he had left was a throw measuring 58-1 1/2 — a personal record by more than a foot.
Wester looked a little dazed as he walked away from the ring, but joy soon set in. “(Being state champion) is so awesome,” he said. “It’s great.”
“58 feet is quite amazing,” said throwing coach Shawn Striegel. “He’s a state champ, he’s a great kid — what else can you say? He’s a champion every day; today he just gets a medal for it.”
As always, Wester got to share the experience with his family — including younger sister Mary Wester, who also threw on Thursday and Friday at the state meet.
“It’s great to have family up here,” Emmett Wester said. “Their support is the best, really.”
Mary Wester, a Mt. Pleasant sophomore, shared the sentiment.
“It’s great to have family here,” she said. “They love coming to watch us. And Emmett and I always joke around.”
This was the last season that the pair will be competing together, as Emmett Wester will graduate this weekend.
But Mary can count on the fact that if he has the opportunity, her brother will be back to watch her at state next year — just as the pair’s older brother, Leonard Wester, came back to watch them compete this season.
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This year, Mary finished fourth overall in the shot put with a throw of 38-07.
Both siblings also competed in the discus on Thursday; Mary was 19th with a throw of 98-05, and Emmett just missed another medal, finishing ninth with a throw of 148-11.
"I am happy overall,” Mary Wester said. “I wasn't expecting to do extremely well in discus. In shot put, and I was happy to make it to finals. That was my first goal, and then I thought I'd just go from there."
Every step of the way, she was getting pointers from her dad and the volunteer girls’ throwing coach, Herb Wester — who, as both a coach and a dad, was happy with her throws.
“Mary had a really good performance, her most consistent of the year,” he said. “Every throw was about 38 feet, which is really good considering the extreme stress of the state meet. It’s a completely different environment.”
Herb Wester also coached Elinor Krieger-Coble, who finished her Mt. Pleasant track and field career with a throw of 34-03, taking 21st overall.
“She’s had a tough career, with an injury to her knee — throwing events have a lot of turning, a lot of pressure on the knee,” Herb Wester said. “But she kept getting better and did her best at the end of the season.”
The Panthers’ final thrower at the state meet was Justin Dunn, who competed in both shot and discus. He took third place overall in discus (170-06) and placed fifth in shot (51-08).
His goals going into the state meet were to place in both events and improve on his fifth-place discus finish last year, both of which he accomplished. However, he still wasn’t thrilled with his final career meet.
“I don’t think I performed very well,” Dunn said. “For my last meet in high school, it was not really what I wanted.”
But he couldn’t have been happier for his teammate.
"Emmett did a great job," Dunn said. "We all knew he had it in him."
At very least, they were hoping he did. After she finished her throws, Mary settled in with her family to watch Emmett take his turn.
“I”m hoping for a big toss,” she said.
It’s safe to say that 58 feet qualifies.