BELGRADE — Last weekend Belgrade senior javelin thrower Gracey Carter broke an 11-year-old Panthers record.
“That was actually my goal since I started, when I started sophomore year," she said. "I kind of just jumped into it and then I realized, I’m actually kind of good at this.”
At a dual against Billings Skyview, Carter shattered the Panthers' girls javelin record with her throw of 145 feet, 5 inches. The week prior, she wasn’t even throwing close to that.
“Honestly, the past week before that I was getting really down on myself," Carter said. "I was throwing on average 111 feet and 114 feet. I got really down on myself because I was looking at that state record and for the school record I was like, 'I have to throw 140 for that. Is that really going to be a possibility?' I wasn’t improving how I was hoping.”
Then her throwing coach Lise’ Kilgore-Palmer made a tweak in her technique.
“The main thing that I really had to work on to get my throws improving was I lift up my back foot, and as a thrower that’s where all the power comes from -- the twerk in your hips," said the Belgrade senior. "We finally figured out what I had to do to fix that and then it was like practicing doing that and then it had to turn into muscle memory and then it all clicked that day.”
Using her newfound throwing technique at the Billings Skyview meet last Saturday, the Panthers senior was reaching new distances with her javelin on every attempt. Then she broke the school record of 138 feet, 4 inches set by Lindsey Halgren in 2010. Coach Kilgore-Palmer might have been more excited than Carter.
“I was so excited," the throwing coach said. "There’s film of me screaming really excitedly. It was so overwhelming but in such a good way to see all of her hard work pay off, especially after the pandemic and all of us losing (last) season and to be able to come back out and have a record-breaking season is huge.”
That throw didn’t just break the school record. It made her 14th in the nation.
“Honestly, it’s kind of hard to believe," Carter said. "I had to double-check a few times, because that is my name on there.”
With her newfound technique, Carter is hoping she can keep the momentum rolling into divisionals this week in Billings and state the next.
“I’m trying to be optimistic," said Carter. "I am a little nervous because that throw, it felt like it came out of nowhere and it just kind of like happened. I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to get that to stay. I got it to click, now I’m hoping it all stays together.”