Pressure is something every athlete faces at the state track and field
championships. The pressure Carly Pendleton faced Friday, though, was an
entirely different animal.
COLUMBUS – Pressure is something every athlete faces at the state track and field championships. The pressure Carly Pendleton faced Friday, though, was an entirely different animal.
A junior at Elmore Woodmore, Pendleton was trying to secure the seventh straight state title in the Division III discus for her family. Her oldest sister Emily won four D-III discus titles from 2004-07 and is the only athlete in state history – boys or girls – to win a field event four times. Her older sister Erin won the last two state titles in the event in 2008-09.
On Friday, Carly didn’t extend the string. She finished second. And it took a personal record throw from her opponent to beat her.
McDonald senior Joh’Vonnie Mosley, whose previous best was 145-8, uncorked a school record 151-4 in the finals to beat Pendleton whose farthest throw was 147-6.
Pendleton was embraced by her sisters afterwards.
“She knows there were six (state titles) before (her),” Mike Pendleton, Carly’s father and coach, said. “We just said you know we can’t control anybody else today. I thought she might have had it but (Mosley) came out and unleashed two huge throws. I mean she beat her school record. If you’re going to lose I want to see that happen.”
Said Carly: “I wanted it so bad.”
Pendleton put together her best series of the season and recorded six throws over 140. She just needed to find that one 150, which she’s capable of.
Back on May 8, Carly recorded a PR of 155-4 at the Oak Harbor Invitational. That mark ranks fourth nationally this spring and is second in Ohio behind only Austintown-Fitch’s Ali Tolich (160-2).
“She came out here and fought for it,” Emily said. “She had the best series of her life. Obviously we would like to have the first but getting second is awesome. She’s never been here before and to come in and get second is pretty darn good.”
Under the circumstances, second is better than good.
Pendleton has been throwing with a broken foot for five weeks now. What caused the stress fracture in the third toe on her right foot is unknown.
Friday’s wind – more suited for righties than lefties, which Pendleton is – did not help either.
And then of course their was the thousand pounds of pressure – 500 supplied by each sister – that Carly carried this spring.
“I felt pressure, but I think I put it on myself,” Carly said. “No one put pressure on me.”
“We’ve talked about that many times,” Mike said. “I always tell her that’s her name (on the flight sheets). It doesn’t say ‘Emily’s little sister’ or ‘Erin’s little sister.’ It says Carly Pendleton. We never mentioned (winning) the seventh (state title) because it isn’t about (Emily and Erin). I don’t want to say they’re old news, but Carly just has to focus on herself and what she can do.”
A lot of people wouldn’t be able to escape the shadows.
As a senior, Emily set the overall Ohio record in the discus – regardless of division – with a toss of 183-3. Erin holds the D-III state meet and Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium records with a state winning toss of 168-10 that she launched her junior year.
As a freshman and sophomore at Michigan, Emily captured the Big Ten discus title. She was unseated by Erin, now a Michigan teammate, this spring. Erin also set the Michigan record (186-7) in May.
Both Emily and Erin are headed to next week’s NCAA national championships in Eugene, Oregon. It’s Emily’s third trip.
“I think (Carly) was under a lot of pressure because we won the past six years, but she’s her own person,” Erin said. “She had a great series of throws and that’s the best she’s done. Second place is not something to be ashamed of. There are worse things.”
Said Emily: “Carly has had so much more pressure than any of us have ever had to deal with. She’s been amazing.”
She’s also been able to carve a niche for herself and shed expectations. Next year, there will be no pressure for Carly to continue a win streak. Instead, it’ll be her turn to start one.
“Would I have liked to have had the win? You bet,” Mike said. “But second place is nothing to be ashamed of. Being in the top two in the state seven years in a row is big.”