RENSSELAER — The season isn’t over for the state’s reigning girls’ discus champion.
There is a national meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, to consider. A slate of regional meets is a possibility. An AAU national meet could also be an option this summer.
Then there are other obligations to consider. On Tuesday, June 4, just three days after she won her first state title, Rensselaer Central junior Hannah Redlin was demonstrating how to throw a disc to Dan Yeager’s young running group at the high school discus ring.
The kids also got a chance to pass around Redlin’s state medal, which will go nicely with her runner-up medal of a year ago.
Redlin has achieved local celebrity status for winging a weighted saucer farther than any other prep girls’ athlete in Indiana. On June 4, she threw it nearly six feet further than anyone, winning with a heave of 143 feet, 3 inches.
Runner-up Kayla Truesdell of Jennings County was second at 137-9, and the top seed coming into event, Terre Haute South senior Lauren England, threw 136-8 for third place.
Redlin felt last year’s experience on the big stage helped her last week. The nice, hot weather was also a contributing factor.
“I just relaxed and threw,” she said.
She also credited good practice sessions at home and on the IU campus for giving her confidence heading into the state meet. She actually won the event on her first attempt of the preliminaries.
“The first throw (142 feet, 5 inches) came out early,” she said. “If I would have pulled it around, it probably would have been in the high 140s. I don’t know, but it would have been further.”
She didn’t get to 143-3 until her fifth throw. In all, she was the only thrower at state to break 140 on three different attempts.
Her best in previous post-season meets was the 136-11 1/2 effort she showcased at the Kankakee Valley Sectional last month. She threw 131-4 at the Portage Regional.
It was a drop-off from the 141-8 she threw in mid-April at South Newton.
“I was just struggling in general,” she said. “It might have been a mental thing on me because I was seeing them — and it’s hard to tell out here (at the RCHS discus ring) because we don’t measure them in practice — but if felt like they looked bad and I felt I wasn’t getting myself in a good position.”
Getting her left foot under her quicker and staying balanced were key components to Redlin’s soaring attempts at state.
“Keeping my head in a better position because I still like to drop my head, which causes me to be off balance,” she said. “That’s something I got better on this year. And having a long pull so I can get the disc out better.”
The Junior Olympics Midwest Regional champion and a runner-up finisher at the national meet last summer, Redlin nearly competed in two events at the state meet. She fell just 1 1/2 inches shy of receiving a call-back from the IHSAA in the shot-put after placing fourth in the event at regional. Only the top three finishers at each regional automatically qualify for the state meet.
Earlier this spring, Redlin threw the shot 40 feet, 8 1/4 inches to break Jenny Luecke’s old shot-put mark.
Competing in both events at the state meet is one of Redlin’s goals for 2020.
“My main goal next year will be beating our school record in the discus,” she said. “It would be nice to go for both discus and shot, but if I only make it for discus again, it would kind of be good, too, because I can just focus on that. It still would be cool to go down for shot to see how it goes.”
Former RCHS standout Michelle Luecke, who won a state championship in 1986, holds the school record at 154-5.
Redlin said she will spend the off-season adding muscle as she prepares to field offers from college programs next year.
“Getting a little stronger will help some,” she said. “There are some small things still that will add extra feet on my throws, too. If I do those better and do them more consistently then that will help me get an extra five, 10 feet.”
As a state champion, Redlin has been invited to participate in the 2019 New Balance National Outdoor meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Father’s Day weekend, June 13-16.
The meet will be held at North Carolina A&T State’s Aggie Stadium. Over 5,000 athletes from 47 states plus DC, Canada and Puerto Rico will converge on the NC A&T State campus beginning on Thursday, June 13.
Redlin will compete in the Up and Coming shot-put event on June 14 before competing in the champion division for discus over the weekend.
Earning a chance at competing against state champions from other regions gives Redlin an idea of where she stands against other teenage competitors.
“I’m really good in this area, but I learned that I’m not the best,” she said. “I come here and I’m number one, but I go there and I realize I’m not number one. Part of it is the girls are older than me and bigger than I am.”
In the meantime, Redlin will bask in the spotlight as the state’s best girls’ discus thrower as she prepares for her senior year. Redlin is the third state champion from RCHS, joining Luecke and Julie Koebcke, who won with a throw of 146-6 in 1992.
“It feels good,” she said of winning the title. “I don’t feel super different, but it feels good because I know I put in all that hard work and not going to certain things my friends were going to. It’s paid off.”