Penn-Trafford thrower Elma has top of podium in sights

Friday, May 11, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Heading into the 2017 WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships, Penn-Trafford's Cam Elma was set to be one of the top throwers in the shot put and challenge for a spot at states.

But at the end of the day, he walked away with a 10th-place finish. Elma is focused on not having the same results his senior season.

“I underperformed,” Elma said. “I was fifth heading into WPIALs last season. I worked hard the whole offseason knowing this is my last year. I don't want to go down knowing I didn't do my best.”

Elma enters the final stretch of the season as one of the top shot putters in the WPIAL. He has also found success in the discus.

At the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet April 28, Elma had some of his best throws of the season. He finished first in the shot put with a throw of 51 feet, 7 14 inches. In the discus, he finished second (136-8 12). Teammate Evan McAllister finished in first (149-11).

He was named the boys field MVP.

While the shot requires raw power, the discus requires a high level of focus.

“The shot put is more violent,” said Elma, who is set to continue throwing at Division II power Tiffin. “It is explosive, and I need to be as powerful as I can be. The discus is more fitness. I need to stay more relaxed and precise with my movement.”

The county meet wasn't Elma's first impressive showing on the big stage this season. At the Lady Spartans/Wildcat Invitational at Latrobe on April 13, he finished first in the shot put with a throw of 50-6 12. He finished fifth in the discus with a toss of 129-10.

“I think any time there is a lot of competition, it brings out the best in me,” Elma said. “If I think someone is better than me, it is going to make me do the best I can.”

Elma will look to carry that attitude toward success at the WPIAL championships Thursday at Baldwin. When he steps into the circle, he is going to have gold on his mind.

“I want to win,” Elma said. “That is 100 percent the goal. I know I can do it.”

The Warriors will have several athletes looking to make an impact at the WPIAL Class AAA championships.

In addition to Elma and McAllister, the boys team has Chris Colligan (high jump) and Joe Wilson (discus) looking to earn medals.

On the girls side, Lizzy Cermack (100, 200), Reaghan Panza (javelin) and Maura Hileman (100 and 300 hurdles) will compete.

Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.


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