One of last year's outstanding freshman track & field athletes, Courtney Clabough competes at ITT
A once powerful event has recently fallen on hard times. Perhaps, Covid-19 has played a part in only three different throwers combined over 40 feet since 2019. Only Jayden Ulrich's masterful 47'8 stands out from 2020. In '19, Ulrich threw over the threshold but was rated eighth. How good was that year? There were 21 putters who surpassed 40 feet!
We will try our best to put a positive spin on 2023. If the nearly dozen 40-foot plus returners from the outdoor season can carry over, inside, then we are in business.
Maeve Kelly (Sr., Winnetka New Trier) may be the one to watch as she is the state's top returner and only 40-foot-plus performer (40'11.75"). Kelly has played basketball in the past and that may thwart her from achieving more success in the ring. Maybe in her final season, she will compete in more high-profile meets.
Back and ready to keep the Clabough name in the headlines is Courtney Clabough. As a freshman last year, she won the Illinois Top Times title with a toss of 39'9.50." Courtney is the little sister of now former great Kyle Clabough. She is in line to perhaps being a state champion someday herself with incremental improvements each season. Her overall personal best of 41'10.25" is from the outdoor campaign.
Madelyn Bishop (Sr., Rockford Boylan Catholic)- The reigning 2A outdoor champion who threw over 43 feet will be much better during the indoor season. Bishop should be among the best putters in the state regardless of classification this winter.
Claire Allen (Sr., Sandwich) had a fine indoor season a year ago which resulted in her winning the 2A Top Times crown with a toss of 39'1." Allen nearly topped 40 feet outdoors and the experience and confidence should lend more this winter.
Stephanie Nosike (Sr., South Holland Thornwood)- it will be interesting to see how this solid performer will do now that super coaches Bill and Karena Bundy have moved on to Homewood-Flossmoor. Nosike was an emerging product that threw over 38 feet indoors and it's plausible that she would be in state title contention through this season after nearly hitting 40 feet outdoors in 2022.
Emily Sykes (Jr., Granite City) could be one of the most underrated throwers in the state during the indoor season. The main reason is because of basketball in the winter. That sport takes up a bulk of the undercover campaign. Nevertheless, Sykes is still a threat to throw over 40 feet.
Honorable mention: Na'Kiyah Robertson (Sr., Plainfield Central), Sofiabella Amirante (Jr., Barrington), Olivia Meskin (Sr., Sherrard), Sydni Badertscher (Jr., Forreston), Carley Anderson (Jr., Galesburg), Kayden Porter (Sr., Palos Heights Shepard), Antenise Williams (Sr., Schaumburg), Reese Garland (Sr., Oak Park-River Forest)