Hempfield junior breaks school record in shot put, sets sights on 2 more

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022 | 4:19 PM


It’s fair to assume most high school athletes don’t always put in a 100% effort at practice.

Most athletes aren’t like Hempfield junior Liz Tapper. There are times her coaches have to tell her to take it easy.

On Monday, Tapper worked first with throwing coach Dave Murray, and after getting a good workout, she walked over to work with pole vault coach Melissa White.

She worked as hard at the pole vault as she did in the shot put and discus circles. There was no fooling around. The intensity on her face showed she was all business.

After setting a school record in the shot put at Hempfield’s second meet of the season, Tapper is looking at breaking more records – 13 feet and a half-inch in the pole vault and 161 feet in the discus.

Her record throw in the shot put was 46 feet, 11 1/2 inches. She also had personal records in the discus (149-6) and pole vault (12-2) in the same meet.

It was quite a start to the season.

“The goal is to own all three records,” Tapper said. “I feel good and I’m where I should be.”

Tapper is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 3A in both throwing events. She surprised many by placing third in both throwing events at the PIAA Championship last May at Shippensburg University. She also competed in the pole vault.

“She has a good chance at breaking those two, if not this year, her senior season,” Murray said. “Liz is very competitive in everything she does, even at practice. She’s a hard worker. She’s a lot stronger and is always trying to improve her technique.”

White said that’s what she looks for from all of her athletes, just not Tapper.

“We don’t look at numbers,” White said. “We work on perfecting our technique. If we do that, the marks will come.”

Murray said he wouldn’t mind if Tapper would take it easy at certain dual meets, but he knows her competitive nature won’t allow that.

“She’s always looking to get better,” Murray said. “She wants to jump higher and throw further.”

Tapper is a multiple-sport athlete. She was a first-team all-section volleyball player.

During the state indoor meet, Tapper finished eighth in the pole vault (11-6) and second in the shot put (44-7).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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