Overland Park Looking for motivation -- and maybe a smile from a teammate -- Lawrence High's Scott Penny took a lick of the throwing chalk caked on his finger before slapping in his favorite Beach Boys CD.
The sophomore's strange behavior before the shot put seemed to help perk a drained Penny up toward the end of a career day Friday at the Shawnee Mission North Relays.
"I just tried to throw it a little too hard," said Penny, who wound up extra tight on his last throw, but ended up with his weakest toss of the day.
Regardless, a second-place finish in the discus with a throw of 152-feet, 3-inches and a personal record in the javelin at 160 weren't a bad prelude to Penny's eighth-place finish in the shot.
"I knew his arm was dead," LHS throwing coach Jack Hood said. "He did a great job today -- and more importantly, he did a lot today."
Penny actually accomplished quite a bit this week.
"In a way I went through a threshold," said Penny, who finally found success against the two competitors who have challenged him most in his young career.
Monday at the Topeka Seaman Relays, Penny defeated Shawnee Mission Northwest's Mike Rivera in the discuss with a personal-best throw of 152-3.
Friday might have been even sweeter since Penny edged Olathe East's Todd Haselhorst for second place in the discus. Rivera won with a throw of 159-31/2.
Last year at regionals, Haselhorst kept Penny from qualifying for the state meet when Haselhorst knocked Penny out of the top three on his final throw.
"It's just a lot of fun to go against guys like that," Penny said of Rivera and Haselhorst, who will be suiting up for the Kansas University football team in the fall. "Especially when you can find a little success against them."
Even if Penny had been perfect in the shot, he might not have been able to overcome Ottawa's Caleb Blakesley.
Blakesley -- who has the top throw in the state this season with the 60-31/2 mark he threw at the KU Relays -- was again solid, winning with a throw of 56-41/4.
"This is just a loaded field," said Rivera, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound standout linebacker and tight end for the Cougars who finished third in the shot. "Maybe the most competitive field in my career.
"But it's always fun, because you know you're going to have to get after it every time out against these guys."
Rivera wasn't the only spectator near the throwing ring who had a smile on his face.
Penny's father, Bill, a legendary thrower at KU in the early 1970s, especially was enjoying his view.
"He has a ton of potential. He's already surpassed everyone in the family," Bill said of his son.
Last month, Scott even tried to show up his dad when he entered the open field of the hammer throw at the Kansas Relays.
While it was Scott's first hammer throw, Bill is no stranger to that event. He took third at the NCAAs in 1971.
"I think he wants to be better than his daddy," Hood said.
Scott, who said he might not throw the javelin later in the season in order to save energy, said he couldn't pick a favorite between the shot and discus.
"My preference changes day-to-day," Penny said, "but today I didn't mind the discus.
"I'm happy, but not satisfied. Because I want to be satisfied after state."
Penny wasn't the only city competitor to flourish Friday night. Several other Lions and Firebirds finished in the top three.
On the girl's side, Free State's Sam Frisbie won the high jump with a jump of 5-4. LHS pole vaulter Chelse Ornburn won the vault with a height of 10-0, while Free State's Lacey Baxter came in second at 10-0.
Firebird Kristin Baker won the discus with a throw of 128-6 and finished third in the shot at 35-103/4. Lauren Abney won the javelin at 128-1.
Free State's Alysha Valencia took second in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:12.99, while the Firebirds' 400 relay team finished third in 50.88.
"This is the best we've ever done here," Free State coach Steve Heffernan said. "It's a really competitive meet, and for us to come away with as many top finishes as we got, says a lot."
For the city boys, Free State's Ryan Rastock won the 300 hurdles in 40.74. LHS's Sylvester Birdsong had a PR while taking second in the 110 hurdles in 14.73.
Free State's Danny Schneider finished second in the 3,200 meters in 9:52.01, while teammate Nick Squiers was third in the 800 with a time of 1:56.30. Lawrence High pole vaulter Ramin Zangeneh finished third at a height of 13 feet.
Free State's 3,200 relay team won in 8:06.3, while the Firebirds' 1,600 team took second in 3:29.12.