---- — By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Scan the list of the area bests and Shelby Freedman's name sticks out for the two events for which she owns the top performances.
The Danville sophomore owns the top throw in the javelin and the top triple jump as well.
"Maybe it's unique, but in high school you get those combinations. I had a girl that was good in the shot put and the 3200 one year," Danville coach Jeff Brandt said. "There are similarities between (javelin and triple jump), like coordination. She's very coordinated. She has good speed which helps in the jumps and on the runway in the javelin."
Danville's track staff first noticed Freedman on the soccer pitch during her freshman season and she also had some thoughts of her own on what she wanted to do in track and field.
"I just picked them both up. I play soccer; the jumping coach said I had a really aggressive run so he thought I'd be a good jumper. At the same time, I have a pretty good throw-in in soccer, so I wanted to try the javelin," Freedman said. "I figured I pick up both of them and see which one I liked the best then drop one of them. I ended up really liking both of them."
Heading into this weekend's District 4 Class AA meet at Susquehanna University, Freedman enters as the top-seed in the javelin by virtue of her school-record throw of 150-0 1/2. Her top jump in the triple is 35-5, while not owning the area-best in the long jump, Freedman also owns the Danville school-record in the long jump with a leap of 16-8 ¼.
With two such intensive technique events like the javelin and triple jump, Brandt and Freedman have to find the right balance for practice because along with the long jump, she's a member of the Ironmen 4x100 relay team.
"She's got to make sure that she covers all her bases, that's she's not concentrating on the javelin or the triple jump," Brandt said.
"It was hard managing both at first, but my coaches do a great job of managing my time, so I get enough practice in both to reach my full potential," Freedman said. "I work on javelin the most, then triple jump. My jumping coach says as long as I can do the one phase in the triple jump well, I can long jump well. In the 4x100, I do the same workout as sprinters, but my team is really good at staying after practice to work on the handoffs."
Things have been going so well for Freedman this season she hadn't run into much adversity until this past weekend at the Heartland Athletic Conference meet at Selinsgrove High School.
Freedman didn't win the javelin, throwing 105 feet after being in the 120-feet range consistently for most of the season. Freedman struggled with the schedule and the weather.
"The weather got to her a little too much. The runway was bad. There was a little stress because the long jump and the javelin were going at the same time. She got a little bit bent out of shape," Brandt said. "She didn't have any problems with that in dual meets, so she shouldn't have in invitational, but that's something she's gong to have to work through. That was a disappointment, that we didn't have a better javelin in Selinsgrove."
Freedman knew she could have had a better day at the HAC meet.
"I was disappointed Saturday. I wasn't mentally were I needed to be. I had a bunch of different events happening at the same time and I did let the rain get into my head," Freedman said. "I was scared about throwing and jumping well and I was scared about injuring myself for (districts)."
However, working out in the Danville High School gym Tuesday, Freedman, like any good athlete, was already chalking it up as a learning experience.
"It just that much more motivation to work harder this week," Freedman said. "It's time management and keeping your focus throughout the whole day. That's what it taught me."