Garner wins gold at AAU Region Two Meet and places 15th at New Balance Nationals

By on June 29, 2016
Warwick senior-to-be Eric Garner finished 15th out of 44 competitors with a throw of 187-9 at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C

Warwick senior-to-be Eric Garner finished 15th out of 44 competitors with a throw of 187-9 at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C

At the AAU Region Two Track and Field Championships last Friday, there was nothing new about the javelin that Eric Garner was using.

Well, except for one thing.

“I got it painted Warwick colors,” the Warrior rising senior said. “I really like it.”

Competing in front of a throng of family in Galloway, N.J., Garner went out and made Warwick proud with the red and black javelin.

On his final throw of the trials, he launched a new PR throw of 193 feet, 4 inches and took home the gold medal on the campus of Richard Stockton College, punching his ticket to the AAU Junior Olympic Games set for Aug. 1-6 in Humble, Texas.

“That was great,” Garner said. “I started out throwing pretty well, I felt pretty confident in myself, and when I threw that one, I felt it was going to go pretty far, that it was going to be a new PR.”

The throw was met with a roar of support from family members watching nearby.

“My whole family from down in New Jersey was there,” Garner remarked, “so I just wanted to give them a show and I felt confident in myself, so I was trying my best.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Garner had also built up some momentum coming into the AAU Meet, thanks to a solid performance at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. on June 18.

“Placing 15th at Nationals, it was a confidence-booster and that really helps you be more confident in your technique,” he said.

Inside of North Carolina A&T State University’s 21,500-seat Aggie Stadium, Garner uncorked a throw of 187 feet, 9 inches to capture 15th place out of 44 competitors. Liam Christensen, of Mount Pleasant, S.C, claimed gold with 232-1.

Asked which performance he was more proud of, Garner said, “I’d probably say the New Balance Nationals just because of all the pressure that was on in the center of the stadium. It was great. I loved that New Balance Meet and I really felt like I was doing good there, being consistent.”

At the time, his throw of 187-9 was just shy of his PR (187-10), set at the PIAA Meet in late-May. Garner’s other two throws in Greensboro traveled distances of 179-6 and 179-7.

Jacob Strickler, of Selinsgrove, earned the ninth and final spot in the finals with a throw of 190-9.

“I liked being able to throw with all the other kids from around the country,” he said. “It was a great experience. You can really pick things up that other kids are doing and it’s fun to be able to watch the kids that are better than you and see what they like to do and see what their technique is and try to manipulate it.”

Garner credits improved technique for taking his javelin throws to the next level.

“I am stronger than last year, not significantly. I’m not lifting weights particularly for this. It’s more of me working on technique,” he said, “and really just getting solid technique.”

Had it not been for a two-hour rain delay at the AAU Region Two Qualifier, Garner’s new PR could be even more impressive. Having taken his three trial throws and preparing for the finals, the clouds opened up and halted the competition.

“It was a bummer,” Garner said. “My best throw was my third throw and I was almost up again to throw another, but they delayed it. I definitely felt like I was going to get over 200 (feet) on the next two throws with all the excitement from my family supporting me there when I threw the 193.”

His next shot to reach 200 will come at the AAU Junior Olympics in August. In the meantime, Garner will continue training, both on his own and with Cocalico throwers coach Scott Krall.

“I’m hoping to get over 190 again, or a 190 throw,” Garner said. “I think I can do it.”

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