TACOMA — Frank Catelli began the season as a javelin thrower. Now, he’s the best shot putter in Class 2A.
The Sequim junior put the finishing touches on his late flourish to the high school track and field season, claiming the 2A title in the shot put by more than four feet Friday.
All three of his throws trumped the 2A field at Mount Tahoma High School, including chief challenger and friendly rival Troy Martin of Port Angeles.
Yet it was Catelli’s last toss, a 55-foot, 10¾-inch heave, that ended going in the record books.
“I won on my first throw, and I knew that,” said Catelli, also 11th in the javelin and 12th in the discus in 2A this weekend.
“Troy was the only one who I thought could beat me, and he scratched his first two throws. Once he was out, I knew I had it pretty much locked in.”
Catelli was the lone state champion out of the 35 North Olympic Peninsula athletes who competed at meets throughout Washington.
“I started the year thinking I was going to be a javelin thrower, but it worked out,” Catelli said. “I’m happy about it.”
Crescent had four second-place finishes at the 1B meet in Cheney, and Neah Bay’s Titus Pascua had two runner-up marks of his own at the same meet (See story on Page B3).
And Martin, who came in as the favorite in the 2A discus, took second in his specialty event, while Sequim’s Audrey Lichten came within a split second of winning the 2A girls 1,600 meter race.
Catelli, of course, left no such doubt in the shot put.
“It’s probably his best series of the year other than the fact he had a really long throw last week [a 58-1½ school record],” said Sequim coach Brad Moore, whose Wolves have now won seven individual state titles in seven years.
“Good thing is, Frank’s just a junior.”
And, it appears there’s room to grow.
After trailing Martin much of the season in the shot put, Catelli came on in the final three weeks.
He altered his throwing motion from a rotational style to a glide on the advice of Wolves coaches B.J. Shade and Don Lichten, and it paid off.
Catelli won each of the final three meets he competed in, ending with his dominant showing on Friday.
Not bad for a guy who still considers track and field his second sport.
“It’s football and then this, but I’m going to be training more in the offseason next year. I want to try and hit 65 [feet].” Catelli said.
“If I do, this might be the sport for me.”
Martin already established himself as a track star midway through the spring.
The Port Angeles senior broke several records in the discus this year, including the school mark, while throwing in 170-foot territory with regularity as 2A highest-ranked thrower.
A football standout in his own right as the Olympic League MVP, Martin earned himself a preferred walk-on spot with Washington State in track.
But with his ankle still bothering him from a sprain suffered two weeks earlier, his best toss in the discus was 161-1 on Saturday.
That was not enough to trump Nick Majeske of Anacortes, who won with a throw of 165-7.
“The nature of the sport itself is some days it’s just not there, some days it is. That’s what happens,” Port Angeles coach Pat Durr said.
“He threw his best, and today wasn’t his day.”
Lichten nearly gave Sequim two state champions for the second year in a row.
The Wolves senior was on Kingston runner Marina Roberts’ tail throughout the 2A girls 1,600-meter race Saturday.
Then once the two hit the final straight-away, Lichten came with one last spurt only to come up 0.15 seconds short. She was also sixth in the 800 meters.
“It was a great sprint down the straight,” Moore said. “Audrey made a last charge and almost [got her], but just not quite enough.
“That’s a fantastic way to finish your career, to run an all-out race like that and do so well.”
Sophomore teammate Haleigh Harrison took fourth in the high jump with a 5-2 mark as the next-highest Sequim placer. The Sequim boys 4-by-100 meter relay team also finished seventh.
Also placing for Port Angeles was Tarah Erickson, who took fifth in the 2A girls pole vault (10-0), and junior Cameron Braithwaite, eighth in the javelin.
“Overall, I’m very happy with what happened,” Durr said. “Getting eight kids to state was a great goal.
“I just enjoy a kid like Rylan Spencer. He’s been with the program four years. He made it to the 4-by-100 relay, and it was just a thrill for him.“I’m really happy for kids like that. They worked hard, stayed with the program, and it paid off.”