Photo by Bill Roseberry
Granite City’s Catherine Jakich prepares to throw the shot put at the Class 3A state meet in Charleston on Saturday. Jakich earned a third-place state medal with a throw of 41-8.75.
Catherine Jakich finished her Granite City track and field career in style on Saturday at the Class 3A state meet at Eastern Illinois’ O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Jakich corralled a third-place medal in the 3A shot put, tossing it 41 feet, 8.75 inches. She would have liked to finish her prep career with a state title, but she wasn’t complaining about her third-place medal.
“I’m really excited,” she said while waiting to receive her medal. “I was hoping for a better day, but yesterday I got it on the third throw and I was really nervous. My first two throws had been 35 and 37 and that would not have gotten me into the finals, so my mentality was I have to get it to get in the finals. I threw it 41 feet and I was pretty excited.”
Her best toss came in Friday’s preliminaries at state, but throws carry over to Saturday’s finals and it was enough for her to earn her medal. Jakich’s throw had her in second place entering Saturday.
Knowing that she had the 41-foot throw in her pocket made Saturday much more relaxing.
“I was still nervous today, but yesterday getting that mark, I was seated second coming into today so I wasn’t as nervous today,” Jakich said. “I was definitely nervous yesterday. I still had nerves today and it was stressful, but just to have a mark is nice.”
Jakich, who worked with GCHS throws coach Jake Janek and adjusted her throwing technique, didn’t think advancing to state was a possibility earlier in the season. Her progression and improvement was kind of a surprise to her.
As a junior, Jakich advanced from the sectional to state in the discus, but came up short in the prelims, so this season was definitely an accomplishment.
“It’s definitely something that if you would have asked me a couple months ago, I don’t know if I would have said yes,” Jakich said of winning her medal. “To be here, it’s exciting.
“I transitioned back to spin this year and it took a lot of work. Spinning is really hard and it’s really technical. Coach Janek really stuck with it and we videotaped a lot, went through a lot of videos and he really helped me out. I think that’s how I progressed during the year, getting my technique back.”
Her sophomore teammate Robyn Pointer joined her in Friday’s prelims in the 200-meter dash, but Pointer was unable to advance to the finals, making Jakich the lone representative for the Warriors on Saturday. Representing Granite City was a huge honor for Jakich.
“It’s a great honor,” she said. “Coach Janek has been a great coach the last four years. He’s worked with me every single day, so having him as a coach and to be here to represent Granite is an amazing feeling.”
Representing the Southwestern Conference was an honor for Jakich, too. She was one of three SWC shot put throwers to medal on Saturday. East St. Louis’ Aaliah Herron (43-1) won the state championship, while Alton’s Jewel Wagner (40-9.75) finished sixth.
“We have a great conference, in almost every sport we dominate and track especially,” Jakich said. “For all three of us to be here, it’s awesome. At least you see someone whose won every single meet we’ve had this year, for (Herron) to win the state title that’s awesome. It’s great to see her represent the Southwestern Conference.”
Jakich plans to continue throwing in college, but she’s undecided where she’s going to attend right now. She wants to major in sociology.
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