BUTTE – Deer Lodge’s Austin Forson and Helena Capital’s Justin Jenks put on a show at the Butte Invite at Memorial Stadium in Butte on Saturday.
Neither thrower had experienced much competition coming into the meet, but they were ready for the heavyweight bout preparing to take place.
Forson, the State B record holder in discus and the current state leader in the event, launched his first throw 162 feet, 6 inches to take an early lead and apply the pressure to Jenks. Jenks scratched his first two throws, but calmly tossed his final preliminary throw 134-08 to qualify for finals. And the battle begun.
Jenks, throwing just in front of Forson in finals, took the lead with a season-best toss of 166-01. Forson may have felt pressure thereafter as he tossed his first throw out of bounds, leaving Jenks in the lead.
“It’s kind of nice to finally see some competition this year,” admitted Forson, who leads Class B by over 45 feet in the discus. “Most of my competition has graduated, and it’s just nice to keep people around that are good throwers, far throwers.”
Forson came right back with a throw of 173-08 that got the many fans in attendance screaming and shouting in excitement and awe. Jenks, needing to one-up Forson to grab the lead, launched his final throw of the day a personal best and Helena Capital school record 170-02. However, Forson’s throw stood, and the state’s leader won Round 1 against Jenks.
“The competition, just to motivate me to go farther, practice harder and just try and beat them and beat myself,” Forson said of the day-long battle between he and Jenks.
In the shot put ring, Jenks got his revenge. He entered the day as the state leader, and he firmly planted his name atop the Class AA favorites. While Forson finished runner-up to Jenks with a throw of 48-07, a season best, Jenks won by over nine feet, tossing the shot put 57-10.
The head-to-head matchups brought out the best in both Forson and Jenks. Forson recorded a new season best in shot put, while Jenks recorded his best performance in the discus. Forson and Jenks rank No. 1 and 2 in the discus.
“When you’re competing with the guy that’s best in the state for discus, it’s amazing,” Jenks said of his season-best throw. “You really get a sense of the competition, and it fuels your competition and you throw better.”
Although Jenks won the shot put easily, he wasn’t fully satisfied with his performance.
“I was hoping for around 60 (feet), but 57 is a good mark, and I’m just going to keep rising,” Jenks added.
Jenks finished runner-up in the Class AA shot put last year, but has different plans when this year’s state meet rolls around.