All in the family: Plum’s Hunter Linhart carries on family discus tradition
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 4:35 PM
In 1959, Bruce Linhart Sr. set a standard in the discus at Penn Hills that has yet to be surpassed: He established a school record of 168 feet, 1 inch. The mark also was the state record for five years.
Bruce Jr. set Plum’s discus record in 1982, and younger brother Luke overtook that record with a throw of 154-8 in 1991.
Another brother, John, a 1988 Plum graduate, also threw the discus as well as the shot put.
Fast forward to the present, and Plum senior Hunter Linhart, Luke’s son, is carving his own legacy in the discus while also upholding a family tradition.
While goals of WPIAL gold and a return to the PIAA championships are on his mind — he finished 10th last season at states with a personal-best throw of 147-7 after taking fourth at WPIALs — he also would like to leave Plum knowing his name is in the record books.
“Ever since seventh grade, it’s been a huge goal of mine,” Hunter Linhart said. “I always strive to win at meets and invitationals. That’s an awesome feeling. The mark I really want to leave is breaking my dad’s record and keeping it in the family.”
Hunter said he and his father talk a lot about the record and what it means to work hard each day to achieve that goal.
“He’s always said that if anyone is going to break his record, he hopes it would be me,” Hunter said.
Luke Linhart said he is excited for his son to be close to the record.
“It’s been there for a long time, and it’s due to be broken,” he said. “It’s been fun to see Hunter progress from the time he started in seventh grade to where he is now as a student of the discus throw and also the javelin and shot put. I am so proud of the fact that he loves what he does and how much he wants to carry on the family tradition.”
Linhart’s season-best in the discus came two weeks ago against Woodland Hills. He won the event that day with a throw of 145-2.
He said he has had multiple throws in practice in the mid- to upper-150s that would have broken the record. It is just a matter, he said, of getting it done in a meet.
“There is a lot of promising things going into every meet,” Linhart said. “I just have to put it all together for an official throw.”
At the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet Saturday at West Mifflin, Linhart finished third in the discus with a top throw of 134-6. He added a medal and a personal best in the javelin (139-5, seventh).
His all-time best throw in the shot put, 40-8½, came last week in the section tri-meet against Central Catholic and McKeesport.
The Plum boys defeated Gateway and Penn Hills on Tuesday to finish 4-2 in Section 5-AAA. Mustangs coach Adam Molinaro said Linhart was a key contributor to the point totals each meet.
“He has really shown great leadership with his throws and overall,” Molinaro said. “I think he will finish his high school career well at WPIALs and hopefully states.”
Linhart, who will continue his football and track and field careers at Westminster, hopes to break through at WPIALs in the javelin and shot put.
“I made it to the finals at Tri-States in all three throws,” he said. “I had fouled a throw of about 43 feet in the shot, and if I would’ve kept that in the sector, I would’ve come home with a medal in that, too. There’s a lot of improvement going on for me right now, and it’s kind of exciting.”
Linhart first gained notoriety in the discus as an eighth-grader on the A.E. Oblock Junior High team.
He set a team record at the Plum Junior High Invitational in May 2015 with a winning toss of 146-0, 12 feet further than the previous top Plum mark of 134-2 set by John Batis in 1996.
It set the stage for the high school career Linhart would begin less than a year later.
“Practice helps. Working on technique is important,” he said shortly after his record-breaking junior high throw. “I have to stay focused.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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