Before she entered the discus venue Friday at Burke Stadium, tales of Kalynn Meyer’s warmup performance already were circulating.
The first throw by the junior from Superior traveled 140 feet. It was a simple power throw to warm up her arm. The spins and leg placements were looking good, so anticipation was growing.
Things only got better — way better — as Meyer topped the all-time state meet record three times, finishing with a best throw of 176-8 to win the all-class gold medal for the third consecutive year.
That throw also moved the Nebraska volleyball recruit to No. 1 on the national leaders lists, according to Track and Field News and athletic.net.
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This year, Meyer didn’t require as much assistance from father/coach Andy Meyer. As Kalynn has matured through three seasons, she prefers that dad watch from a spot not so close to the ring.
“It’s just to the point where I know what I need to do and there’s nothing he can tell me that will help that I’m not already thinking myself,” she said. “I know what needs to be done.”
There was nothing rebellious or boastful about that statement. Dad agrees with it.
“The difference between Kalynn this year and last year is she knows what she needs to do to throw farther,” Andy Meyer said. “I don’t have to tell her. She knows it. I’ve tried to leave her alone a little more and let her figure things out, and she has. In fact, I’ve told her that.
“She’s done a great job of that for the last month. The first part of the season she struggled a little bit, but she’s figured it out here in the last five meets, and she’s done it on her own.”
Dad was in his usual spot — the western-most corner of the coaches area near the discus ring — but he moved after Kalynn’s fourth throw went awry. Things were OK during the first three throws, though.
She opened with a 152-2 before unleashing her first record of 171-5, a throw nearly 7 feet farther than the previous meet best.
Kalynn’s third throw went beyond her winning throw but didn’t count because of a foot foul in the ring. Still, she left the ring smiling. She knew a bigger throw was possible heading to the final.
One meet official said that throw “went beyond 180,” and Andy Meyer said he was told it was roughly 181 feet. Then came Kalynn’s worst throw of the series, a sector foul on her first attempt of the final.
Daughter and dad’s eyes never met as Kalynn left the ring to head for her blanket near a couple of soccer goals to think about what went wrong.
“She was rushing it in the back of the ring,” Andy Meyer said. “She wasn’t setting herself up in the back of the ring, and when she does that she gets ahead with her upper body.”
Dad then moved down the sector, making it more difficult for Kalynn to see him. Andy said the last half-dozen meets he’s been staying away from the ring, viewing Kalynn’s throws from farther away.
Kalynn laughed when told of her father’s response.
“Honestly, no he hasn’t,” Kalynn said. “It’s ironic. I usually throw my best when he’s not around the ring. He was kind of close, (but) he was a little farther down. Maybe if he was all the way out there, I would have thrown a little farther.”
Her fifth throw was a 172-0 before she landed the record-setter. Kalynn said getting closer to 180 feet on that final throw was exhilarating.
“It was relieving,” she said. “I had the goal to get that this year. That second throw passed that, and I was really happy for that. I was more relaxed. I didn’t have anything to worry about on those last throws.”
Meyer is the leading qualifier in Saturday’s Class C shot put, which is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Wind direction won’t be an issue for the shot, but it was for the discus. Andy Meyer said Friday’s setting wasn’t ideal, which made Kalynn’s performance that much more impressive.
The wind was blowing from the northeast, and if had been coming from the southwest, Dad is convinced Kalynn’s best throws would have been in the mid-180s.
Andy Meyer knows what he’s talking about. He has owned the state all-class record the past 30 years and went on to be a three-time Big Eight discus champ for Nebraska.
“She’s been knocking on the door all season,” he said. “The latter half of this season she’s been working on getting a big throw, and things have to be just right.”
Colleges want Meyer to give track a whirl
Superior junior steadfast in commitment to volleyball; NU’s Cook says she can compete in discus, too
Though Meyer has been committed for more than 18 months to play volleyball at Nebraska, her successful track and field season has led Division I coaches to gauge her interest in that sport.
Among the early suitors are Stanford, Texas A&M and Kansas. Meyer set the all-class state meet record in the discus Friday with her winning throw of 176 feet, 8 inches. The junior from Superior will also compete in the Class C shot put beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
While volleyball remains her primary collegiate sport, Meyer said she’s interested in throwing the discus for the Huskers once the volleyball spring season concludes in mid-April.
Meyer’s father, Andy, who owns the state discus record of 203-6 set in 1989, said Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook already has given his blessing to Kalynn to give the event a try.
“Coach Cook has told her that she could,” Meyer said. “As of last year, she didn’t have that much interest in throwing in college.”
Then there’s the chance to compete in the 2020 Olympic Trials in Walnut, California. The qualifying standards for the Trials have yet to be announced, but the discus standard for the 2016 Trials was 187-0.
“It would be hard not to (try that), but it would be up to her,” Andy Meyer said. “She is getting a lot of attention from colleges around the country for throwing.”
Kalynn Meyer said the Trials present an intriguing challenge.
“It’s something I haven’t really thought much about,” she said. “It’s a possibility. Just to go see what I can do against the all-timers.”
Meyer’s record throw puts her 13 inches behind her sister Alex, who is a senior at Nebraska and is ranked No. 34 on the Division I leaders list this season. Alex was at Burke Stadium on Friday to watch Kalynn and younger sister Shayla, who finished fifth with a throw of 130-10.