South Park senior Bill Stanley takes place in NFHS record books
SHIPPENSBURG — How big was South Park senior Billy Stanley's record-setting throw in the javelin at the PIAA track and field championships?
Google his name and see the headlines pop up from across the country.
Stanley became the only WPIAL athlete recognized in the National Federation of State High School Associations record book when he landed a mammoth 246-foot, 9-inch throw Saturday at Shippensburg.
As Stanley prepared for what became a record day, all he thought about was breaking the state mark of 224-2 and winning a PIAA gold medal. “My goal for this year was to break every record that I came into, and I did it,” Stanley said. “The national record is something we never thought about.”
But when he uncorked his gigantic toss on his first throw of the competition? “I knew it was big,” he said. “It felt effortless.”
The javelin sailed past the 220-foot mark, the last measurement line at Seth Grove Stadium, and almost landed in woods beyond the field. PIAA officials rushed to the spot and measured. Then, they called for a metal tape measure.
Anytime a state or national mark is set, judges measure twice.
Sam Crouser of Gresham, Ore., had held the national mark of 244-2, set in 2010. That throw eclipsed the previous record set in 1988. Coincidentally, Crouser's sister, Haley, holds the girls mark of 173 feet.
NFHS and PIAA records are only recognized at state championships and NFHS-sanctioned meets.
Normally, the javelin doesn't draw much of a crowd. But as word circulated around the stadium, fans left their seats to watch Stanley's subsequent throws.
“I only threw 225 and 218, and then scratched a couple times,” Stanley said. “I was thrilled at first. Then, walking out all my family started crying, and then, it hit me more.”
He had the second-best throw in the country at 234-9 entering the state meet. That was on his first throw earlier this month at the Baldwin Invitational. He also holds the WPIAL record (227 feet).
Thomas Jordan of Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon set the previous PIAA record in 2003.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Stanley will attend Ohio State in the fall.
While most NFHS track and field records are owned by athletes in California, Texas and Florida, only one other is held by someone in Pennsylvania: Central Bucks South set the 3,200-meter boys relay mark of 7:33.48 in 2009.
Stanley said he felt exhausted after the WPIAL championships, so he took off almost an entire week. He resumed throwing Thursday.
“Everything felt right,” Stanley said. “I was throwing 240s like I did (Saturday), and everything fell together.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-836-5095.