NEWBERG -- Central Catholic junior Joe Nizich is following in the footsteps of his older brother John by specializing in the javelin.
Joe put together five throws over 190 feet on Friday, out of six attempts, and threw 202 feet, 3 inches for a new personal best, the No. 2 mark in the country this year, and a meet record at the Chehalem Field and Track Classic.
"This past couple of weeks I've been thinking about putting speed into the throw, and I think that was the common denominator," Nizich said. "That, and the angle of release was really working well for me today."
Nizich finished third in the 6A final as a freshman in 2017 and improved one spot to second in 2018. He came into Friday's meet with a career best of 202-1.
The best throw so far this season across the whole nation belongs to Sam Hankins of Manhattan High in Kansas. He threw 207-7 at last week's Texas Relays.
John Nizich was the 2014 6A champion before moving on to Oregon, where he is a senior and an All-American.
"He's definitely been a huge influence on me," Joe Nizich said of his older brother. "He's the one that started coaching me and getting me into the javelin. I actually want to follow in his footsteps but eventually go (farther) than him."
Joe already has surpassed John's 11th-grade best, which was 200-9.
Another Oregon high school thrower, Ty Hampton of North Bend, is No. 4 nationally at 198-11.
There are 19 states that offer the javelin at the high school level.
Elsewhere at the Chehalem Field and Track Classic, a pair of elite 1,500-meter races were the featured events on the program.
Lincoln senior Kyla Becker sped away from Sunset's Lucy Huelskamp and the rest of the competition to post a meet record time of 4:37.19, a new state leader.
In the boys race, Sunset's Ethan Reese overcame a big mid-race surge by Crater's Janz Tostenson and used his kick to win it in the last 180 meters, in 4:01.56. That was also a meet record and the second-fastest time in the state so far this season. Tostensen clocked 4:02.46.
Doug Binder is the editor of DyeStat.com