Hawks’ underdog thrower wins state medal

South Hamilton junior Logan Klemp competes in the Class 2A shot put at the Iowa State Co-Ed Track and Field Championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Thursday. Seeded 22nd in the field of 24, Klemp vaulted all the way up to seventh and earned a state medal. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

DES MOINES — Darrell Paulsen had what he thought was a brilliant idea back in late March. He wanted to remove Logan Klemp from the shot put so that the South Hamilton junior could focus his attention on the discus and a couple of relays.

Luckily for Paulsen and Klemp, Hawks’ throws coach Carlton Ness was there to be the voice of reason.

“Yeah, Carlton’s the smart one,” Paulsen said while laughing yesterday minutes after Klemp surprisingly reached the finals and placed seventh in the Class 2A shot put at the Iowa State Co-Ed Track and Field Championship at Drake Stadium.

Seeded near the back of the 24-thrower pack, Klemp opened with a nice toss of 49 feet, 31⁄4 inches and only improved from there en route to a state medal. His best throw of 51-2 came on his second attempt of the prelims.

He took second in his section and it held up in the finals.

Field Championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines yesterday. He placed ninth, missing a medal by five inches. Right, South Hamilton senior Jared Fisher begins the second lap of his second leg of the Class 2A 4x800-meter relay. The Hawks were 12th. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“It’s just amazing … I love it,” Klemp said with the medal around his neck. “I definitely threw above my seed. I got a safe one out there (on the first attempt) and that was a signal to let it loose on the next one.”

Ness, who watched his pupil surpass 50 feet on a pair of throws, had an inkling that Klemp was going to bring his best to the ring.

“We knew he was going to throw his best (yesterday) and he did,” Ness said. “He’s progressed a lot technique wise and strength wise over the last three months, and his flexibility has improved tenfold this year. But he’s worked hard at it.”

Klemp said his coach deserved some of the credit for his performance.

“Coach Ness played a huge part in this with helping me and critiquing me all year,” he said. “I’m kind of surprised, but I knew it was definitely possible.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Klemp was in a loaded field that included three throwers that went past 60 feet. Iowa City Regina senior Jared Brinkman won the title with a 2A-record heave of 63-4.

As for Paulsen, well, he could only marvel at what Klemp accomplished.

“Logan was remarkable,” Paulsen said. “I know coach Ness said that if he could make it to the finals, that would be great, and that’s what he did.”

South Hamilton’s 4×800-meter quartet of Logan Peters, Josiah Brown and the Fisher twins, Jared and Devon, has their sights set on a medal as well, but fell four places and five seconds short. The Hawks ran a season’s best time of 8:23.94 and placed second in their heat, but had to settle for 12th.

“We’re a little disappointed, but it is what it is,” Devon Fisher, who ran a relay-best 2:03 split and made up significant ground on the leaders on the anchor leg, said. “We can’t go back and change it … we’ve got to remember this, but at the same time forget it and don’t let it bother us.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Paulsen said his runners gave it everything they had.

“I can’t take anything away from it because it was the best time all year,” he said. “We tried hard.”