The sound of metal crashing into metal at track and field meets this spring marks Terrance Howard’s arrival into the pantheon of elite discus throwers.
Howard, a senior at Park Center, recorded a throw of 191 feet, 11 inches last week at the Crimson Invite held at Maple Grove. That smashed his throw of 180-6 set five days earlier at Richfield.
“The way he looks, I think he will make another move,” said Bruce Smith, who coaches the girls’ track and field team at Park Center but keeps tabs on all Pirates athletes.
Howard’s mark is believed to rank fourth all-time in state annals, behind Nate Englin of Mounds View (194-4), Mike Yonkey of Wells-Easton (195-6) and Rochester Century’s Karl Erickson (201-7). Howard, who will compete at Marquette, took second at the Clas 2A state meet last spring with a mark of 170-11.
Better equipment helped produce bigger distance gains this season. Smith purchased Howard a spin disc, which he used in practice once before the meet at Richfield. The disc’s weighted edge provided more spin, greater distances and meet-and-greets with unsuspecting fences.
The sectors that house the discus throw competitions at Richfield and Maple Grove are bordered by chain link fences. In both cases, Howard’s new spin disc hit the fence after one or two bounces.
“After Maple Grove, I told my activities director, ‘We need to get him a new disc,’ ” Smith said. “He asked, ‘Did it get lost or something?’ I told him what had been happening and that the disc looked pretty banged up.” Smith said the new disc was scheduled to arrive earlier this week.
Undefeated no more
A 12-0 start to Maple Grove’s softball season ended with a thud May 2 as top-ranked Crimson dropped two of three games in the Eastview Tournament. The team started the day with a 1-0 victory against Minnetonka. But a 4-0 loss to Eagan and a 11-1 thrashing by Bloomington Jefferson followed. Maple Grove, which finished second at the Class 3A state tournament last season, was without ace pitcher Sydney Smith. Crimson coach Jim Koltes said he gave Smith, the 2014 Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, all three games off to ease her shin splints.
Mounds View wins big tennis tourney
The Mounds View boys’ tennis team confirmed why it holds the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A. The Mustangs topped a strong field to win the prestigious John Rowe Invitational, hosted by Edina, for the second consecutive season. All but one of the eight teams are ranked among the top 10 in their classes.
The Mustangs blanked Minneapolis Washburn (No. 6, 2A) 7-0 in the quarterfinals, then edged two-time defending state champion Blake (No. 1, 1A) 4-3 in the semifinals.
Mounds View finished the job, topping East Ridge (No. 4, 2A) 4-3 in the championship match.
The No. 1 double team, seniors Abraham Alex and Carter Jones, battled “incredibly tough opponents” and finished 3-0 in the tournament, Mustangs coach Mike Cartwright said. Also unbeaten were the No. 3 doubles team of Michael Cao and Andrew Tang, No. 3 singles player Hunter Heck and No. 4 singles player Petro Alex.