No. 3 - Jill Shippee Dominates A Discipline
The girls competition was especially fierce this year. Distance running alone provided more moments than we could fit on this list. But only two athletes in the entire state managed to set the State Record in both Indoors and Outdoors. One was Lauren Harris, who ruled the country in the racewalk. The other, was Shenendehowa thrower Jillian Shippee.
There were hints early that Shippee may be on to something. She set the Junior State Record last year in both the Weight Throw and the Hammer. However, the senior and overall records were both held by one of NY's greats, Melissa Kurdorfer. Before Alexis Daniels came along in 2016, Kurzdorfer held every throwing record besides the Outdoor Discus. After Shippee graduates, all that will be left will be Kurdorfer's Indoor Shot Record.
Indoor season got off to a slow start. It took until January to make it over 55ft, still 5ft short of her personal best. She was coming up against Gianna Rao, from the perennial Hammer power state, Rhode Island. Rao would get the advantage in each of their matchups, all the way through January. Then, Shippee took some time off. From Feb 3rd, Shippee didn't contest the event for twenty days. Then, at State Quals, Shippee came back with flying colors. She launched a 60-7 to improve her personal best from the year before. She followed that up with a win at the State Meet, once again crested the 60ft barrier. With a Title in hand, and a personal best on the board, it would have been good enough to just go compete for a repeat throw at Nationals.
But Shippee wasn't there for just good enough. She would be running into Rao once again, as well as many other top tier throwers, including Shot Put National Record Holder, Alyssa Wilson. After a warmup on the first throw, Gianna Rao launched a 59-7.75 on her second throw. Shippee had only thrown further than that twice before. However Shippee answered right back, tossing 59-9.25. She had gotten the lead, but was close enough to get caught. It was off to the finals. Rao opened up the finals with a long foul. Sensing the danger, Shippee let one go. It hit the turf well past the 60-ft mark, and the crowd erupts. 63-10.50, and just like that, the State Record was blown away. But the day wasn't over. Again letting one go, Shippee fouls the fifth throw. On her final throw, having already won the meet, Shippee releases a monster, and goes even further. Her final throw of 65-6 not only solidified her State Record, but shot her all the way up to US #2 All-Time. And her better event, the Hammer Throw, was still yet to come during Spring Track.
It didn't take long for the Spring to start rolling. In her opening meet of the season at the New York Relays, Shippee maintained her technique from the Weight Throw, and translated it immediately to a State Record in the Weight Throw. She launches a 196-2 to win the competition, nearly thirty feet longer than second place. It shatters her own personal best by 15-ft, and bests Kurzdorfer's State Record by four feet. Not a bad way to open up a season. But one barrier remained. Shippee wanted to crest 200-ft.
A break was needed first, just as was needed Indoors. From April 21st, to May 28th, Shippee focused back on her Shot Put and Discus, the only throwing events offered at the New York State Meet. Shippee returned to the Hammer on May 28th, throwing at a local exhibition hosted by her club coach, Paddy McGrath. There, she would throw 182-1 to get back into the flow. Three days later, she'd toss the Shot Put 43-10, to qualify for the State Meet. Two days later, she was back with Paddy, tossing 194-0 back with the Hammer.
At States, Shippee would take second with a season best of 44-8.5. But that 200ft mark was still on the mind. That's where the moment number 3 happens. Shippee heads up to the New England Championships, which contest the Hammer Throw, largely due in part to the involvement of Rhode Island. Throwing unattached, Shippee joined the field, first getting off a 183-10. Down came the rain. Foul on the second throw. The rain starts to increase. Another foul. And then another. With only five throws in the series, Shippee was on her final throw, with conditions worsening. But the long drive from Albany to Rhode Island wasn't about to be for naught. Ramping up her rotation, Shippee lets one fly. Out it goes, waiting to be measured. The officials come back. Shippee broke the mark, hitting a strong 201-4, moving her to US #2 this year. She would go on to win the National Title, and contest more times with Paddy. She still has more chances to push the mark even further, but her lightning toss in the rain serves as the defining throw in an already strong career.
Fast Stats - Jill Shippee - All-Time Marks
US #5 - Hammer Throw
US #2 - Weight Throw
NY #12 - Shot Put Indoor