Shenango thrower Emma Callahan ties shot put record at PIAA championships

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Saturday, May 28, 2022 | 2:26 PM


SHIPPENSBURG — The target distance on Shenango thrower Emma Callahan’s mind was 50 feet, 10¾ inches, which was the state championship record for girls shot put in Class 2A.

On Saturday, she threw that distance.

Exactly that distance.

Callahan won the girls shot put title at the PIAA track championship for her first state gold medal and tied the meet record established by Center graduate Allyn Laughlin in 2006.

“This has been my goal since I started throwing in seventh grade,” Callahan said. “I’ve wanted this record and this gold medal for the longest. To accomplish that today is a really good feeling.”

The Iowa recruit had broken the WPIAL championship record a week earlier with a throw of 50-8, which was her personal-best at the time. But she quickly bettered that number on her first attempt Saturday with a toss of 50-10¼.

That convinced Callahan that the state record was within reach, and energized a standing-room crowd that had gathered around the shot put area.

“I said, ‘I’m not going out being a half-inch off the record,’” said Callahan, who then tied the state championship record on her second throw.

Nobody else in the field came within eight feet of Callahan, so her best competition was the record book. She tried to earn the record outright but fouled on three of her final four throws, including one that was her longest of the day.

So, Callahan’s name will be listed next to Laughlin’s.

“With her and a lot of these great throwers, everything is timing,” said her father Matt Callahan, who coaches Shenango’s throwers. “If something is off a fraction of a second, it can mess everything else up. She had the great push and everything she needed with that, but didn’t have the follow through to save it.”

This was the Callahans’ last meet together as coach and athlete. Emma Callahan said she won’t compete this summer at nationals and instead will start training for college life in the Big Ten.

She’ll graduate as a three-time WPIAL winner and now a state champion.

On Friday, she finished second in the girls discus to Homer-Center’s Justley Sharp. The shot put was a rematch, and this time Sharp finished second at 43-0.5.

“Emma is gifted in many ways,” Matt Callahan said. “She’s done some special things. … She’s put in countless hours in the circle and in the weight room. She’s prepared herself for greatness in the circle and greatness in life.”

Her mission was to have the PIAA championship record outright, but Emma Callahan said she could leave Shippensburg pleased that she’ll share the record with Laughlin, who later threw for Florida State.

“I’m really happy that I’m able to be there (in the record book),” Callahan said. “I did have a foul today that was a little bit farther, but overall, for my last high school meet, I couldn’t be more happy.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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