Coming into his final state track meet at Mount Tahoma High School, Nolan Van Amen already had the most throwing state championships, with four, than anyone else.
No other 4A competitor had more than three titles. On Thursday, the senior from South Kitsap added one more title to his prolific career with a win in the shot put, defeating Connor Jensen from Skyview.
A bid for another title – which would have given Van Amen four straight state titles in the discus – was denied on Friday when Jensen edged him with a throw of 183 feet, seven inches. Van Amen came in at 171-02.
“It means a lot, but it’s not enough,” Van Amen said. “To make history by winning four in a row would have been crazy but you can’t win everything.”
It was an especially sweet win for Jensen, who had be beaten by Van Amen in the past.
“I know him, he’s a great competitor,” Jensen said. “I’ve worked so hard for this though. I’ve lost to him every year since 8th grade.”
During the final discus event, Van Amen was consistently keeping himself in motion. He was either pacing back and forth, stretching or practicing his throwing motion.
When he walked up to the throwing circle, he would yell at himself as well. The championship would come down to the final throws between Van Amen and Jensen.
“It would have been cool to win to end (my high school career),” Van Amen said. “I’m proud of myself for winning in shot put but this year in discus has been all over the place.”
Despite not going four straight years winning in just one event, Van Amen has won at least one event all four years, an accomplishment no one else has either.
“I would’ve liked to be at the top,” he said. “I just haven’t started to hit right. My best just wasn’t enough. I tried, that’s all you really can do. I just can’t help but think I’ll always look back on this and think of what I could have done better.”
In defeat, Van Amen was gracious to Jensen as the two hugged after the final throw. Both gave each other words of congratulations as their rivalry officially came to an end.
Van Amen will be in a category of his own as the most prolific thrower in 4A history. He will continue his throwing career at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.