STATE TRACK PREVIEW: Viks’ Leonard among the country’s best

Print Article

Grady Leonard spins before releasing his shot put in the 5A Region 1 track meet last week at Coeur d’Alene High School. Leonard recorded a throw of 66 feet, 7 inches. LOREN BENOIT/Press

COEUR d’ALENE — At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Grady Leonard has the aesthetics of a capable thrower.

Not an elite one, though.

But Leonard, Coeur d’Alene High’s record-shattering senior, currently owns the country’s fourth-best heave in the shot put.

Nobody in the Gem State has come within about 8 feet of his 67-foot throw in April, a mark which seemingly dwarfed his previous school record of 60 feet, 7 inches — the same throw which won him a 5A state title in 2016.

“I am pretty weak for a thrower,” admitted Leonard, who’s piqued the recruiting interest of such high-major programs as Penn State, Indiana and Nebraska.

Sure, his measurables aren’t as imposing as Yuma, Ariz.’s Tyson Jones (6-5, 260) or Jordan Geist (6-3, 260) out of Pennsylvania, who share the same tier as Leonard among the country’s best prep throwers.

Technique and the right tutelage have been the biggest boons for Leonard, who will be aiming for a repeat today at the state 5A track and field meet at Dona Larsen Park in Boise. He is also the overwhelming favorite in the discus, an event in which he placed third a year ago.

His father, Neil Leonard, is a former Post Falls High throws coach who, in his heyday, tossed collegiately at the University of Nevada and San Jose State.

Grady’s sister, Kristine (Leonard) Rothwell, took home a 4A state shot put title for Lakeland in 2008 before shining at both the NAIA and NCAA Division I levels at Concordia of Portland and Idaho.

She’s now Grady’s coach and believes her one-sport brother is still nowhere near his ceiling.

“He just has the passion to improve. It’s not work for him,” said Kristine, who once won a Western Athletic Conference title in the discus. “We’re both rotational shot putters. Mentally, we’re both the same, but he is more dedicated than I was.”

The sage wisdom of his other decorated throwing coaches — Bart Templeman of the Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp and former college coach Bob McKay — has also played into rapid growth.

The often-reserved Leonard has a way of getting the most out of himself, too. Before most of his throws, Leonard will begin to start a group clap before he steps to the circle, an attempt to evoke a little more power into his attempts.

“I hope that doesn’t come off as cocky,” smiled Leonard, his neck powdered with throwers chalk. “It’s something I picked up when watching others throw at big meets.”

Leonard believes 70 feet is a feasible goal this weekend. The country’s top throw belongs to University of Texas signee Adrian Piperi out of Houston at 74-11.

“I’d love to go 70, that’s always a goal,” he said. “I can’t stop thinking about it. The 67 felt really easy. It came off right. Everything lined up. My coach was even seeing that it wasn’t pretty. But I think there’s still more there.”

Leonard also owns the Coeur d’Alene High record in the discus (188 feet). Currently, Idaho state meet records belong to former Post Falls sensation Ian Waltz (64-0 shot, 203-9 discus).

In the event he earns a pair of state titles in his respective events, he would could put Coeur d’Alene’s boys team in trophy contention.

That’s what his sister expects.

“He performs his best at the big meets,” Kristine said. “He’s surprised people all year.”

Local title contenders

Classification rank per Athletic.net

5A BOYS

Name: Nate Burch

School: Coeur d’Alene

Event: 110 hurdles

Time: 14.75

Rank: 1

Name: Alex Ayers

School: Lake City

Event: 300 hurdles, 400

Time: 39.62, 48.8

Rank: 2, 3

Name: Zac Magee

School: Coeur d’Alene

Event 400

Time: 48.46

Rank: 2

5A GIRLS

Name: Emily Hernandez

School: Lake City

Event: Shot put

Mark: 42-1.5

Rank: 1

Name: Keara Simpson

School: Lake City

Event: Discus

Mark: 134-10

Rank: 1

Name: Jocie Osika

School: Lake City

Event: Discus

Mark: 131-9

Rank: 2

Name: Melody Kempton

School: Post Falls

Event: High jump

Mark: 5-7

Rank: 2

Name: Mackenzie Morris

School: Post Falls

Event: Pole vault

Mark: 11-6

Rank: 3

4A BOYS

Name: Cooper Hanley

School: Lakeland

Event: 3,200

Time: 4:26.99

Rank: 2

4A GIRLS

Name: Whitnee Skalski

School: Lakeland

Event: Triple jump

Mark: 36-3.

Rank: 3

3A BOYS

Name: Brayden Menti

School: Timberlake

Event: 800

Mark: 2:02.2

Rank: 3

Name: Landon Chang

School: Charter

Event: 1600, 3200

Mark: 4:35.25, 9:54.32

Rank: 2, 3

Name: Landon David

School: Timberlake

Event: 1,600

Time: 4:35.33

Rank: 3

3A GIRLS

Name: Kassidy Hammond

School: Timberlake

Event: 1,600

Time: 5:27.73

Rank: 3

2A BOYS

Name: Donavin Rottini

School: St. Maries

Event: Shot put, discus

Mark: 47-6, 146-11

Rank: 2, 2

2A GIRLS

Name: Karli Trueman

School: St. Maries

Event: Shot put

Mark: 35-1

Rank: 3

1A GIRLS

Name: Madison Napierala

School: Kootenai

Event: Pole

Mark: 9-6

Rank: 1

Print Article

Read More

City clash fuels fear of IS foothold in southern Philippines

AP

May 29, 2017 at 9:31 pm | MARAWI, Philippines (AP) — Militants who have laid siege to a southern Philippines city had been planning a spate of attacks during the holy month of Ramadan to earn recognition as a regional branch ...

Comments

Read More

Prairie wins, but won’t advance

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press POST FALLS — Wyatt Setian hit a two-run double to highlight a five-run sixth inning, and the Prairie Cardinals held on to beat the Spokane Crew 18U 10-9 at the Prairie Memorial Day tournament Sunday ...

Comments

Read More

Normal hurricane season expected in Atlantic, Caribbean

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press May was the fourth month in a row with above normal precipitation in Coeur d’Alene. But, the final total for this month will end up at 2.89 inches, very close to the normal of 2.37 inches. With warm...

Comments

Read More

FLAMES OF RESPECT

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press HAYDEN — Gary Brennecke said that, during his career with the United States Postal Service, he regularly raised and lowered American flags. But, until recently, the now retired Brennecke had always...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X