After missing almost three weeks of the indoor track season due to a hamstring injury, Genora Garcia is still rounding back into form after breaking the indoor school record in the shotput earlier in the season.
But even at less than her best, the Evanston senior had no trouble topping the field at the Central Suburban League South girls indoor championship invitational held Thursday at the Glenbrook South fieldhouse.
Garcia had three tosses in the 37-foot range, including the winning throw of 37 feet, 9.5 inches as Evanston’s only entrant in the varsity competition. She beat runnerup Alison Borsotti of New Trier by more than a foot and a half to earn the first place medal.
Head coach Fenton Gunter decided to rest the rest of his varsity lineup for Friday’s Lake Michigan Invitational at Carthage College in Wisconsin.
Garcia muscled out her first two throws at 37-9.5 and 37.5 — without using any type of spin move — and that’s evidence of the strength she’s gained from last year to this year thanks to extensive lifting in the off-season.
Assistant coach Alex Thomas noted that Garcia typically can throw in the 40-foot range just from a “power position” with no spin required. “She can throw 40 feet on a consistent basis from that power position, and we’ve never had a girl who could do that,” Thomas said. “Once we get outdoors, if you add the typical 6 or 7 feet with a full spin, she has the potential to throw 47.
“For the girls, that landmark distance is 40 feet and once she got to 40 she realized that hey, I can really do this! She’s had the ability since she was a freshman, and she just had to realize it herself. Now we just need to tweak the little things and pull the aggressiveness out of her.”
Garcia wiped out the ETHS indoor record of 41-5 set by Shola Kadiri in 1998 with an early-season toss of 42 feet, 5.5 inches. Now she’s taking aim at Kadiri’s outdoor mark of 43-11.5 — if she can avoid another hamstring mishap suffered during workouts with members of the boys track squad.
“I felt it right away when it happened, and it caught me by surprise,” said Garcia regarding the injury. “I’m still in the process of trying to recover from that. The first week it hurt me to walk more than 10 feet, but now I’d say I’m at about 87 percent.
“Since last year I’ve actually had more time to devote myself to the sport. I’m more focused this year, and I really want to put it out there now. Once I hit the mark at 40 I just wanted to keep going up. It feels good to win this championship, but I could have done a lot better today. I’m at 42 or 43 every day in practice and last year I was about 37-38.
“My goal this year is to start off where I left off indoors, and I hope to continue moving up by the end of May (state finals). If anything, I’m just trying to beat myself.”
“It’s the hard work in the weight room and in the circle that’s paying off for GG right now,” Thomas added. “She was a multi-sport athlete who decided on her own to devote more time to track, and in the summer we did as much lifting as we could. Now I think she should definitely make it Downstate, and I’m pretty sure that she can make it to the finals.”
Garcia accounted for all 10 of Evanston’s points in the team standings. Defending champion New Trier dominated the meet with 159.5 points, followed by Glenbrook South (108.5), Niles West (74.5), Maine South (66) and Waukegan (41.5).
Evanston only entered five junior varsity events but still placed fourth with 60 points. The 4 x 150-meter JV relay team of Aisa Lasey, Summer Mitchell, Hailey Taylor and Tyronesha Harris raced to a victory in 1 minute, 30.36 seconds and Taylor (7.23 in the 50-meter dash) and Noni Shelton (15-2 in the long jump) added individual wins for the Kits.
Source: ETHS Sports Information