A Creston eighth-grader has become a newsmaker in Iowa track and field before she even puts on a high school uniform.
Michael Admire of WHO (channel 13) in Des Moines was in Creston Wednesday afternoon to do a segment on tonight’s newscast (possibly both 6 and 10 p.m.) on Hannah Hood of Creston.
Hood turned heads earlier this week by unleashing a throw of 37 feet, 4 inches in winning the eighth-grade division at the Lil Charger Track Meet in Chariton. That shattered her school eighth-grade record of 32 feet, 5 inches set earlier this season.
However, it also surpassed the Creston High School record of 36-8 1/4 held by Callie Jeffryes. And, it ranks as the best throw in the Hawkeye 10 Conference high school ranks this year, and would have placed sixth in the Class 4A state meet last year, and 10th in Creston’s division (3A).
“She’s got a lot of promise,” said Panther high school coach Clay Arnold.
This weekend, Hood is scheduled to join other Creston athletes at the Iowa Track Coaches Association State Junior High Meet in Waukee, where she is the defending champion in both the shot put and discus from the 2012 meet. She established a new record in the shot at 31-1 3/4, and won the discus with a toss of 85-1.
Last year, a throw of 42-9 won the Class 3A state high school meet, and Sarah Pate of Osceola Clarke won the 2A division at 40-10 1/4.
Hood is approaching those distances with the same size of shot put used in high school. Both high school and middle school girls use the 4-kilo shot (8.8 pounds), while the boys high school contestants move up to the heavier 12-pound shot.
In discus, middle school and high school use the same size of disc, while the boys again take a step up in weight in high school.
Jon Thomson, throwing coach for middle school track, said Hood has potential for big gains in distances in high school, through improved training and technique.
“She still has a bunch of things to work on,” Thomson said. “She is only going to get stronger. Her technique is only going to get better. She’s improving. That (Chariton throw) was just a power throw. It was not full-on technique. Once she gets that down, it’s going to be pretty impressive.”
“I would like to go 45 feet,” Hood said Wednesday, nervously getting prepared for the television interview at a windy Panther Field. “I’d like to really get it up there, and let people know that I’m serious about it. I’d like to throw in college.”
A 45-foot throw would rank her 19th all-time in the state of Iowa. The record is 53-3 1/2 by Paulette Mitchell of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, set in 1992. The Hawkeye 10 best is 46-10 by Abby Emsick of Lewis Central in 2000.
From the area, Hood is already within two feet of the Class 1A state-winning throw of 39-3 by Stacy Helm of Lenox in 1991.
Her career best of 101-3 so far in the discus would have qualified her for state in high school last year. She did that as a 13-year-old seventh-grader.
“She just keeps pushing herself,” Thomson said. “She obviously has the talent and strength, but also the coachability. She listens, takes that and applies that to her practice and her workout. That’s a key part of her success.”
The daughter of Tim and Rhonda Hood has some family background in the shot put and discus to rely on. Both her father and brother Zach participated in those events in high school.
Tim, superintendent of schools in Keokuk, was able to see Hood’s record-setting throw last week in Chariton.
“That made it kind of special,” Hannah said. “Mom videotapes my throws, and sometimes my dad and my brother talk to me about what I’m doing. It helps me in knowing what I need to do.”
Through all of her accomplishments, there’s still one local record in her sights. Aubrey Pendegraft still holds the eighth-grade discus mark of 96-8, set in 2005. Hood owns all of the other seventh and eighth-grade shot and discus records, going 31-11 and 101-3 as a seventh-grader.
Her best in the discus this year is 92-11.
“Hannah is pretty good at setting goals for herself, and then going out and getting them,” Thomson said. “Nothing she does surprises me.”