Repetition is a necessary aspect of an athlete's life. It's how even the best get better.
And it made Sean Keller's final go-around with high school competition pretty special.
In the spring of 2012, the Heritage High School senior won his second consecutive Class 4A javelin championship. He also improved his own state record with a throw of 244 feet, 1 inch at the Centennial Invitational in Gresham, a mark that was an inch short of Sam Crouser's national mark.
"That was the first real meet where (coaches) let me go out and throw my hardest," Keller said.
His record-setting throws make Keller the easy selection as The Columbian All-Region athlete of the year for boys track and field. Naturally, it is a repeat honor.
Keller has made winning look easy over the past two seasons. He won this season's state title by 30 feet with his throw of 227-11.
The mark added seven feet to the state-meet record Keller established in 2011.
The biggest challenge for Keller this season?
"Knowing it's your last season, and going into the state meet knowing it's the last time you're going to throw as a high school athlete," he said.
The high school season is behind him, but there are big things in front of Keller. After Wednesday's graduation ceremony, Keller will fly to Indiana and on Sunday compete at the U.S. Junior National Championships. His summer includes the Olympic Trials in Eugene (his 244-1 throw qualified him for the Trials), and an August trip to compete in Finland.
Exciting opportunities, all. And Keller plans to enjoy the journey.
"It's a lot more fun now," Keller said, "because when you throw far, more things open up to you."
• Improved his own Washington state high school record in the javelin with a mark of 244-1 on April 28 at the Centennial Invitational in Gresham. The throw was 1 inch shy of the modern national high school record.
• Won his second consecutive Class 4A state title. His mark of 227-10 improved upon his 2011 meet-record throw of 220-6.
More about Sean
• Biggest challenge: “Probably trying top rebreak the state record after setting it again.”
• Favorite hobbies? Hunting and fishing.
• Favorite game to hunt? “Name it.” Keller has hunted elk and field rodents (at the request of Yakima farmers).
• Favorite music: Old-school rock n’ roll, especially AC/DC which is often in his ears as he waits to compete. His appreciation for AC/DC dates to youth football when his dad, Mike, played their music before games.
Next year and beyond
• Keller said he plans to start college in the fall, but won’t decide where until after a busy summer of competition that includes the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“You can’t force things to happen, and you can’t expect anything to happen. You have to work at it so it happens naturally.”
— Sean Keller, on a lesson learned from throwing the javelin
Rest of All-Region team
• Grayson Anderson, jr., Mountain View: Placed third at 3A state meet in high jump.
• Marcus Ekeya, sr., Columbia River: Class 3A state meet runner-up in triple jump.
• Scott Feather, sr., Camas: Placed fifth at 3A state meet in discus throw.
• Forrest Russell, jr., Skyview: Placed sixth at 4A state meet in long jump.
• Kevin Sandison, sr., Columbia River: Placed fourth in 3A state meet in pole vault.
• Jameson Shirley, sr., Skyview: Class 4A pole vault state champion.
• Tanner Sork, sr., Union: Class 4A 800 meter state champion; runner-up at 400 meters.
• Mark Tedder, jr., Battle Ground: Placed sixth at 4A state meet in 3,200 meters; 9th at 1,600.
• Joe Thompson, sr., Union: Placed third at 4A state meet in pole vault.
• Jesse Zalk, sr., Prairie: Placed sixth at 3A state meet in long jump; ninth in high jump.
• Peter Zalk, so., Prairie: Placed fifth at 3A state meet in 110-meter hurdles; 12th in pole vault.