MISSOULA – Caden Venters has enjoyed his transition to Class AA.
After spending his first three years of high school in Florence, Venters is now a senior at Missoula Sentinel and making the most of the increased challenge against some of the top athletes in the state.
“I love it a lot. I love seeing the competition,” Venters said. “Some of my best friends were in the top 10 at the end and that’s awesome to see, congrats to them. I’m just hoping to have a big year.”
Venters placed third in the Class B javelin throw last May, watching former Glasgow star Benji Phillips attempt to break the state record. Phillips, who now competes at North Dakota State, didn’t reach the all-class record of 213 feet, 4 inches, set by Nate Bache of Thompson Falls, so Venters is ready to take his crack at the mark by season’s end.
“Pursue every throw. My goal, I want to throw the Montana state record and beat that this year,” he said. “When I get better with my groin I’ll be able to do that.”
A nagging groin injury has slowed Venters, but hasn’t stopped him completely. At the Swede Dahlberg Invite in Butte, Venters found himself trailing Kalispell Glacier’s Bennett McChesney entering his final throw of the preliminaries. The Falcon-turned-Spartan gave the third toss all he had, hitting a season-best 184-05, but re-aggravating the injury in the process.
“My groin was hurting a bit before, I tweaked it in the long jump. That last throw, I knew I had to pick it up a little bit. I went in and hurt my groin a little bit, but that’s alright,” he said. “Not really much of a challenge, just the past couple of weeks it’s been hurting a little bit. You just overcome it, get better and go to the next throw.”
Venters impressively speaks calmly and patiently of the injury, which has kept him from topping his personal record of 190 feet, a mark he hit last season at Florence. He didn’t compete at the mighty Russ Pilcher Top 10 Invite in Missoula on Tuesday, hoping to nurse the injury and return to full strength.
He has seen tremendous strides in the long jump this spring, improving by more than a foot from his junior year. Venters has learned to channel a different mindset for each event, and the results speak for themselves.
“I focus on that when it comes to it. When I go to the long jump, I focus on long jump. When I go to the javelin, I focus on javelin and get my head in it. That’s about it,” said Venters.
Whatever it takes to compete with the big guns in Class AA. So far, so good.