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RHS seniors Austin Corbett, Brent Kelly among favorites to win shot put state title
by Dan Eckles
May 15, 2013 | 1877 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne — Reed senior shot putters Austin Corbett (left) and Brent Kelly will compete in the state championships this weekend.
Tribune photo by John Byrne — Reed senior shot putters Austin Corbett (left) and Brent Kelly will compete in the state championships this weekend.
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Last winter, Austin Corbett didn’t even think he’d be on the Reed track team let alone earn a regional championship. And yet, when the dust had settled and the all the athletes and fans had left Damonte Ranch High School last Saturday, signaling the end of the Division I North Track and Field Championships, there was Corbett headed home a regional champ in the shot put with a throw of 54-feet 10 and a quarter inches.

Corbett expected to be playing baseball for Reed this spring but when that didn’t work out for the senior, he opted to give the RHS track team a shot. Given his growth in the shot put over just three months, that looks like a pretty good decision.

“I wasn’t even planning on doing track,” Corbett said. “Usually my focus is on baseball. When I went to track, I had to create a name for myself. It’s been really fun.”

A big reason it’s been fun is because Corbett and his throwing teammates at Reed have bonded and pushed each other. Corbett, Brent Kelly and another Reed senior, Brent Klitzke, are all among the best shot putters in the North. The trio finished first, second and fifth respectively during the recent regional finals.

“When you get three guys that all throw over 50 feet at one school at one time, that’s pretty rare,” Reed track and field coach Dale Moss said. “That whole dynamic has given those guys competition not every weekend at meets but also on a daily basis. They’re all trying to help each other get better. Those guys are not envious of each other. They’re all very supportive. That’s what has helped them be better athletes.”

Corbett’s regional title was a mild surprise. His senior teammate Kelly owns the best shot put mark in the state this spring with a heave of 55-feet 4 and three quarter inches, set at the regional trials 10 days ago. Kelly posted a mark of 53-7.25 in the shot put finals, only being bested by Corbett. Klitzke had a mark of 50-feet 10.25 inches.

Both Corbett and Kelly earned berths to compete in this coming weekend’s State Championships, which will be hosted at Silverado High School in Las Vegas Friday and Saturday.

“I was going into regionals thinking I was going to win it,” Kelly said. “But I didn’t have the best week of practice. I’m happy I get to compete at state. I really wanted first place, but at the same time, it’s my teammate that beat me so it’s kind of bittersweet ... I want to throw my best at state. I want to get a new personal best and win it that way.”

Corbett and Kelly both said their daily workouts with and against each other set a strong foundation for their success throughout the spring season.

“After practicing together all year and with Brent Klitzke, that gives us an upper hand over all the other competitors,” Corbett said. “We are pushing each other in practice all the time. We know what the competition is like going into meets. Meets are just like another practice. We go out and do what we do.

“At practice, we come out and our coach takes film of us. He shows that and film of Olympic athletes to us. We take that to the ring and we’ll drill a whole bunch. We’ll compete just like its a Saturday. We get warm-up throws and real throws.”

Kelly had similar sentiments.

“We are all really competitive with each other,” he said. “We push each other in practice. We all throw over 50. It’s good to have that competition in practice ... We’d have mini competitions that were set up as if it was a meet. We’d go into competition mode real quick.”

Corbett and Kelly were both members of Reed’s North Region champion football team. Both would like to play football on the college gridiron next year, but with their shot put success this spring, Kelly and Corbett said they’d be open to trying both in college if there was a school open to that.

The duo plans to put in a good week or workouts in preparation for the state title.

“This week I’ve really got to make sure all my technique is sound,” Kelly said. “I can’t go in just throwing my body into it and getting sore. This week has got to be all about technique.”

Corbett has a plan, too.

“Brent Klitzke will still come out and practice with us. We’ll push each other and try to go 1-2 at state. If one of us can put up a good mark quick and then the other one follow, that could scare the competition. It will be good for us. We know what competition is like.”

Moss said that’s exactly the kind of mindset both of his throwers should have.

“Why not make the sky the limit,” he said. “There’s only one meet left and it’s the state championship. They’ve got nothing to lose.”
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