AUSTIN – A year ago there were no dreams of getting to state. Madeline O’Hanlon was just trying to get out of district.
What a difference a year makes.
The Pottsboro junior, who couldn’t finish among the top four in District 9-3A last spring, was the second-best discus thrower in Class 3A after her last throw gave her the silver medal on Saturday morning at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“That pushed me to do everything I’ve done over the past year,” O’Hanlon said. “That would feed my drive. Looking back it was best because it drove me. It drove me here.”
O’Hanlon, who was already guaranteed a medal, used her last heave to go from bronze to silver with a toss of 133 feet, 10 inches.
“Just making it down here means the world to me,” she said. “Happy and thankful. Now I have to keep it going.”
Only fellow Texoman Zada Swoopes had a better day, winning the crown with a Class 3A record of 164 feet. O’Hanlon was able to leapfrog the defending state champ, Breckenridge’s Shelby Lipps, who earned bronze at 133 feet.
“I knew I had jumped her but just by a little,” O’Hanlon said. “It was nerve-wracking to watch her throw.”
Lipps’ last attempt to gain back second was nearly seven feet short of where it had to land.
There were four athletes in the mix for the podium as Kermit’s Briyith Zubia had an opening effort of 131 feet, two inches. No one else threw over 114 feet so the pecking order needed to be decided.
“The group of three girls, we were fighting for second and third. We all knew Zada would win,” O’Hanlon said.
Zubia never came close to her initial throw but O’Hanlon had to wait until the final round to make sure she didn’t get bumped down to fourth. Then O’Hanlon used her last throw to get silver.
O’Hanlon was in medal contention from the start and was tied with Lipps for second from the fourth throw until Lipps went for 136 on the first throw of the finals. Just prior O’Hanlon had taken possession of second at 134 feet, one inch in a back-and-forth battle to the end of the event.