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Track and Field

Redemption for Chalmers, More Success for Bliss as Union/A-C Valley Track and Field Athletes Fare Well at Jud Logan National Throws Festival

GENEVA, Ohio (EYT/D9) — Landon Chalmers was seeking redemption of sorts.

A chance to prove he belonged in the same company as the elite shot put and discus throwers around.

He found it.

Chalmers, now a senior at A-C Valley High School, won both the shot and discus at the 2022 Jud Logan National Throws Festival at the SPIRE Institute Thursday.

He threw the shot put 45 feet, 8 inches and the discus 154-7 to win both events.

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“I felt good,” Chalmers said. “I took three weeks off from throwing and I was just trying to get back to the 160s and 150s in the discus. I did that today.”

Chalmers won the District 9 Class 2A championship in the discus with a career-best throw that was just an inch off the school record, but went into a slump at the worst possible time at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at the end of May.

Competing for the Union/A-C Valley track and field co-op, he struggled in Shippensburg, throwing out of the sector on his first two attempts. By the time he had straightened himself out, he unleashed a throw that would have easily landed him a spot in the finals, but he stepped on the ring and faulted.

“I think it was a little bit more mental,” Chalmers said. “I’m using that experience at states to push me to get better.”

Chalmers plans on giving up basketball in the winter to focus on throwing during the indoor season.

Meets like the one in Ohio on Thursday are also designed to help him get to where he ultimately wants to be — a serious contender for a state championship.

“I’ve been wanting to get to some bigger meets than the ones I’ve been doing (at Slippery Rock University),” Chalmers said. “I was hoping to go out there and prove something, that I’m a good thrower who just had some ups and downs.”

Chalmers feels like he accomplished that goal — proved he belonged.

So did Bliss, who threw just over 151 feet in the javelin on Thursday.

She was the only female competitor in the event, but the distance would have easily snapped the Union/A-C Valley school record.

Bliss, now a senior at A-C Valley, had a very different experience at the PIAA championships than the one Chalmers experienced.

Bliss also struggled out of the gate with a throw of just 67 feet on her first attempt. But she managed to rebound, squeaked into the finals in ninth place, and uncorked a throw of 140-11 to place second.

It was a rise in the finals virtually unheard of at the state level.

“It was an amazing weekend,” Bliss said. “The atmosphere, the people, the competition — all amazing. I think it’s finally hit me that, wow, I actually did that.”

Since that experience at the state meet, she has continued to improve and she showed that Thursday at SPIRE.

“I’ve just finally put it all together,” Bliss said. “I’ve gotten the right mindset. Everything has just clicked.”

Bliss, no stranger to pressure and performing under unusual circumstances, did well despite a very odd competition.

She and a male competitor were the only two throwing. It took only 15 minutes for her to complete all six of her throws.

Bliss also didn’t have a coach with her, just her mother cheering her on.

“It was a little different, that’s for sure,” Bliss said. “Me and Landon have both gone to Slippery Rock for meets and we don’t have a coach there, either. You’re sort of on your own. And it was six throws just one after another. I definitely felt a little rushed because it was me and one other guy.”

Bliss is balancing throwing the javelin this summer with her hectic swimming schedule.

Also a standout in the pool as an independent swimmer from Union — she won D9 titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle and also competes on club teams — Bliss has found a way to do both sports well so far this summer.

“I go to swim practice in the mornings and then I’ll go lift a couple of times a week,” Bliss said. “I can throw the javelin out in our field in the yard whenever I get a chance.”

The ability of Chalmers and Bliss to practice and compete on their own this summer has impressed Union/A-C Valley throwing coach Lexis Twentier.

“Landon and Evie both have the knowledge to practice on their own over the summer,” Twentier said. “There’s no doubt they both went out and competed to the best of their ability today.”

Bliss is gunning for the school record in the javelin, which is 142-7.

She’s already breaking that this summer on her own.

Chalmers also has his eyes set on the discus mark. That record is 161-5. He threw 161-4 at the D9 championships.

“Landon is determined to break that school record next season, as is Evie,” Twentier said. “Evie has hit that mark, but it’s been in the offseason at invites, so it doesn’t count toward the school record.”

Twentier said she is also happy that Chalmers and Bliss have been able to compete in these events this summer.

It will only make them better.

“I’m thankful for their parents that gave updates because I couldn’t be there,” she said. “It’s exciting to have two student-athletes dedicated to a sport so much that they’re spending their summers practicing and competing.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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