E.A. Sports Today

Steger a big shot indoors

Ohatchee senior saves her best for the 1A-3A state meet

Ohatchee teammates Joria Steger (R) and Madeline Crider finished 1-3, respectively, in the girls 1A-3A shot put Friday at the state indoor track and field championships.

Ohatchee teammates Joria Steger (R) and Madeline Crider finished 1-3, respectively, in the girls 1A-3A shot put Friday at the state indoor track and field championships.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — in the span of about two weeks Joria Steger has gone from a novice throwing dodge balls against a wall to perfect her technique to state champion.

The Ohatchee senior capped a rise in event that can be nothing short of meteoric, winning the Class 1A-3A girls shot put at the state indoor track and field meet at Birmingham’s Crossplex.

Steger’s winning throw was 33-feet and one-half inch, about 5-1/2 feet better than her closest challenger. Eighth-grade teammate Madeline Crider finished third at 23-6 1/2. They provided 11 of the 16 team points that left the Indians tied for eighth after the first day of finals.

“I think it’s incredible,” Steger said. “I was there (in the beginning) putting things off the wall trying to figure out what I was doing; I was winging it. I’m thankful for all the people who showed me the things to do.”

Steger’s progression to the gold Friday was typical of her track and field performances this winter. She threw what’s been a typical 29-plus right out of the box that would’ve been good enough to win; all of her throws would’ve been a winner. She had her best throw on the third attempt.

“She threw three feet better than she’s thrown in her life,” Indians coach Casey Howell said. “The state champion always rises up like that. I’ve seen so many of these, it’s like they save it ’til the last (meet) and let it out. That’s the difference between a state champion and not.”

Among the other girls finals Friday, Piedmont’s Megan Mohan (8-6) and Macy Hanson (8-0) finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 1A-3A pole vault; Pleasant Valley teammates Brenna Harris and Leah Johnson finished tied for seventh (7-0). Oxford was eighth in the 6A 4×200 relay (1:54.53).

On the boys’ side, Piedmont’s Wil Mitchell placed fourth in the 1A-3A pole vault (11-0); Oxford’s Cameron Hill was fourth in the 6A shot put (43-7 1/2); Piedmont was fourth in the 1A-3A 4×200 relay (1:41.98); Oxford was fifth in the 6A 4×200 relay (1:34.02).

After the first day of finals (six events), Ohatchee is sixth in 1A-3A girls team standings with 16 points, Piedmont is tied for eighth (11) and Pleasant Valley is 13th (3); Oxford is 14th in 6A with one point.

On the boys’ side, Piedmont is seventh in 1A-3A (10) and Oxford is tied for seventh in 6A (9).

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