Strasburg’s Funkhouser takes second in discus
RADFORD — There was a sea of purple in the girls discus Group 2A state finals.
Strasburg had three girls qualify for the nine-person finals held at Radford University. Junior Rachel Funkhouser finished second and teammate Hannah Keane was fourth. Strasburg junior Miley Hupp placed ninth.
“I think we all had a really good day here, all of our players from Strasburg did, and the other contestants did as well,” Funkhouser said. “We just all played our hardest and the chips fell where they did.”
The biggest chip fell in the trials. Brunswick’s Accura Morgan threw a state record 120 feet, 9.5 inches, which was 10 feet over her season PR. The sophomore finished second to Funkhouser last week in the Region 2A East meet.
“I knew she had it in her, obviously,” Funkhouser said. “We both had really good days. I’m proud of how I did. She just had the better day.”
Funkhouser responded by throwing a 113-06 in her third throw of the trials, which placed her in third heading into the finals.
In the finals, Funkhouser had the best throws of all the finalists. Heading into her final throw Funkhouser trailed James River’s Sydney Hays by four inches. Funkhouser had her best throw of the day, 114-06, to move into second. Hays was unable to top that in her final throw, sealing second place for Funkhouser.
It began to rain during warm-ups for the finals, and Funkhouser said she was hoping that would help her out.
“After the rain I was hoping I could get a leg up against everybody else in the finals,” Funkhouser said. “I did, it just wasn’t enough to beat [Morgan].”
It was only the second year throwing for Keane, and her first time at the state meet. The senior admitted she was a little intimidated during warm-ups but settled in as the competition got started.
Keane’s second throw in the trials was a 105-05, and that would be her best throw of the day. She entered the finals in fourth and held on to the spot.
“I was ranked fifth, so I wanted to get ahead of that because I’ve always told myself the rankings don’t matter,” Keane said. “I got fourth, so that was pretty much my goal. … So I’m really happy about it. I’m really proud of myself.”
Hupp was seeded 12th of the 15 competitors and was in the first flight of the trials. On her last throw of the trials, she threw a 99-05.5 and then had to wait to see if it would be enough to advance to the finals.
“I was a little apprehensive about that,” Hupp said. “I was the cutoff, and I was really, really extremely happy about that. I’m just overjoyed.”
Hupp wasn’t able to improve on her throw in the finals, and just missed earning a medal — the top eight receive medals. However, she said it gives her something to shoot for next year.
“Next year I’m hoping I can really push it and place higher, but I’m satisfied with what I did,” Hupp said.
Strasburg throws coach Tommy Simmons said he was very proud of how all three performed.
“They all had good days,” Simmons said. “It wasn’t anything they could control. Rachel came two foot away from her PR down here with the pressure on her. … Hannah for only a second-year thrower to come down and get fourth, I’m tickled to death. Miley she wasn’t even [in] our top seven last year, and now she’s ninth in the state.”
After the competition was over, the Strasburg trio gave Simmons some gifts, including a plaque and a t-shirt.
They said Simmons is a big reason why they’ve had the success they had this year.
“I have to give all the credit to Tommy,” Keane said. “He does nothing but devote his time to us and this sport.”
“I think we really need to thank coach Tommy,” Hupp said. “He’s a great coach and without him none of us would be as advanced as we are.”
Funkhouser said she’s looking forward to improving and coming back next year.
“Definitely this will be huge motivation for next year,” Funkhouser said. “To practice as much as I can, to get better and come back and do what I can.”
Strasburg’s Elijah Waters qualified in the 110 hurdles with a trial time of 16.44.
In the 200-meter run trials, Strasburg senior Cody Darr had the top qualifying time (22.20).
After four events, Strasburg’s girls were in third place in the Group 2A meet with 13 points.
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org