Gateway: Sports

Peninsula senior Kilcup shovels, throws and wins

An average horse poops more than 10 times a day. At the Canterwood Horse Stables, someone has to clean up after the horses.

That’s where Peninsula High School senior Austin Kilcup comes in, pushing 300-pound wheelbarrows full of excrement as one of the duties of his afterschool job. Maybe not the standard part-time job for a high schooler — but for Kilcup, the benefit is twofold: He makes some extra cash, and in the process has become a better javelin thrower.

Yes, shoveling horse poop has made Kilcup a better athlete.

"I’m not even kidding," Kilcup said. "It’s fun to have a job that strengthens everything I want strengthened for javelin. My grip is stronger, and it adds core stability."

In Peninsula’s second meet of the season, Kilcup set a personal record with the javelin with a distance of 180 feet — only four feet off the school record. Working at the stables isn’t the only reason Kilcup is already up 13 feet from his previous personal best. A rigorous offseason training regimen helped as well. Every morning in the offseason, Kilcup woke up at 4:50 a.m. to go to the YMCA with his father before school.

"I’d run a mile, then do 30, 35 minutes of core (exercises)," Kilcup said. "I did lots of shoulder and upper body work, wide grip pull-ups, incline bench (press) and some light squatting. It wasn’t the most joyous thing in the world but it has definitely paid off."

Last year’s state-title throw at the Class 3A meet was 185 feet, so Kilcup is close to the mark already at this point in the season.

"The top two at state is where I’d like to finish," Kilcup said. "It’ll be a good ride. I’m really excited."

On the girls side, senior Sophie Alvestad looks poised for a big year in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Alvestad is chasing her freshman year record in the 300-meter, just under 50 seconds.

"I just want to have fun and enjoy my last season," she said.

Alvestad hopes a big season will be in store, and is enjoying the time spent with friends.

"I really like the team and how everyone cheers for each other, cheering you to get your next goal," she said. "Everyone is just really friendly. I just like the team aspect of track."