Gateway grads Shelly Jones, Sarah Corrie continue to find success as college throwers
Feb. 19—Shelly Jones and Sarah Corrie shared the bright lights of the WPIAL throwing stage several times as track and field teammates at Gateway.
The duo capped their high school careers with PIAA-qualifying performances at the 2019 WPIAL Class AAA championships at Baldwin High School.
Jones took third in the shot put, and Corrie was seventh.
Their friendship in and out of the competition arena remains strong as does their competitive spirit in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
As two of the top shot put throwers in the conference, Corrie and Jones often find themselves near to each other in the final standings at invitationals throughout the region.
That is where they are heading into this weekend's PSAC indoor championships at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
Corrie, a senior at Slippery Rock, recorded a career-best mark of 13.80 meters (45.28 feet) this season and is the No. 2 seed for Saturday's competition. Jones, the newly minted women's indoor shot put record holder as a senior at Clarion with a distance of 13.71 meters (44.98 feet), is right behind Corrie as the No. 3 seed.
"It is such a great thing for me throwing in college," Jones said.
"Sarah and I have been best friends since high school. We train together in the offseason, and whenever we're home, we train with our high school coach. It is an incredible feeling to see how far the both of us have come since freshman year of high school when we were starting out. We are each other's biggest supporters at every meet. We talk a little bit, and then it is time to compete. Whether she finishes ahead of me at a particular meet or I do, at the end of the day, it's just so special to be able to do this with her."
Corrie and Jones were right in the mix together at the top of the leaderboard at both the Jim Wuske Invitational on Feb. 4, at Mt. Union University and at the Spire Indoor Games Feb. 11, in Geneva, Ohio.
Corrie provided the highlight of the Wuske Invite for the Slippery Rock women as she achieved her top 13.80 mark.
The invitational victory also cleared the NCAA provisional mark of 13.63.
She returned to action at Spire and took sixth in the shot with a distance of 13.55 meters.
Corrie is among the top women's indoor shot put throwers in Slippery Rock history. The school record, however, is a long-standing mark. Jayne Beatty set the record with a toss of 14.90 in 1985.
Jones came into the indoor season with a career-best shot put mark of 12.86 meters (42.19 feet) which put her second on the all-time Clarion women's indoor list. She eyed the school record of 13.07 set by Kari Steuer in 2018.
Her previous best this season — a 12.96 — came at a meet at Youngstown State in December.
The record fell with smashing results on Day 1 of the Bucknell Bison Open on Jan. 27.
Jones, on her second attempt of the day, threw the shot a distance of 13.64 (44.75), nearly three quarters farther than her previous best. It also surpassed the NCAA provisional mark.
A week later at Mt. Union, she bettered that mark with her toss of 13.71 to finish second to Corrie's winning 13.80. Jones and Corrie outdistanced the field at Mt. Union by more than one and a half meters.
"Going into Mt. Union after coming back from Bucknell and being able to set a new record, it was a very surreal feeling," Jones said,
"I was on a high the entire week leading into Mt. Union. Even today, I am still in shock with breaking the record twice like I did. They say that when it is coming off your hand, you can't really tell and you don't really feel it. But both times, I just gave it my best throw. I let it go, and it kept going. When I did it at Bucknell, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again and throw that far or even farther. With the other schools there and some really good competition, it helped me rise to the occasion and throw (the 13.71)."
Corrie and Jones, with their 13.80 and 13.71 marks, respectively, are 30th and 31st on the women's shot put provisional list for the NCAA Division II championships.
Clarion head track and field coach Ben Bevevino said the top 16 in the Division II national rankings are guaranteed to compete at the NCAA championships. Currently, 16th place, Ali Aldrich, a junior from Western Colorado, owns a top shot put toss of 14.35.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 724-226-4665, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .