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SIZZLING START: Evie Bliss Shatters Record in Javelin in First Meet of Season for Union/A-C Valley

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — With every whip of her right arm, Evie Bliss expects something great to happen in the javelin.

(Pictured above, Union/A-C Valley’s Evie Bliss, left, with throwing coach Lexis Twentier)

That wasn’t always the case.

There was a time when Bliss was just another thrower. Not bad. Certainly not great.

All that changed last spring as the weather warmed. In May, something clicked — to this day Bliss isn’t exactly sure what.

She’s just glad that it did.

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

Bliss produced a throw of 136 feet, 3 inches at the Redbank Invitational late last season for Union/A-C Valley as a junior — easily the best of her career. Then she generated a 140-11 heave at the PIAA Track and Field Championships a few weeks later to vault Bliss from ninth to second and a silver medal in Class 2A.

Those throws changed everything about the way she looked at the event. It also changed everything about her future.

A standout swimmer, Bliss decided to leave the water for land in college. She picked throwing the javelin at Bucknell University over strokes in the pool.

Her goals this season are lofty.

Bliss achieved one of them in the first meet of her senior year for Union/A-C Valley on a raw and windy Wednesday afternoon during a dual meet at Redbank Valley High School.

On her first attempt of the new campaign, she uncorked a throw of 149-3 to shatter the Union and A-C Valley school records in the event.

“I feel a little relieved,” Bliss said. “I think knowing I’ve got one under my belt already helps. I mean, the only place I can go from here is up.”

Technically, the 149-3 is not her best.

Bliss had an effort of 151-7 at the Jud Logan Throws Festival at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, on June 30.

That was another watershed moment for Bliss.

“I think when I threw that 151, I started sort of realizing where that put me and where I was,” Bliss said. “My form was pretty much in shambles when I did that and I knew if I could improve my technique and have a lot more speed carried through my throw, that I could potentially throw a lot farther.”

So Bliss went to work.

And to Youngstown, Ohio, to meet up with a throwing coach almost every weekend throughout the winter.

“I think that helped me get an early jump on everything,” Bliss said. “Having somebody else see what I was doing through a different lens and break it down to like a science has really helped me understand it.

“I’ve really worked on my footwork,” she added. “Having speed through my crossovers into my throw and also just upper body positioning, how I hold the javelin and the tension in my shoulders.”

Union/A-C Valley throwing coach Lexis Twentier has already seen a difference. There’s also more tuning to do.

“Evie has worked hard all of the offseason and knew she wanted this (record) since the state track meet last year,” Twentier said. “She threw 149-3 off a five-step — I can’t wait to continue working with her and see what else she can do. I’m proud she’s one of my athletes.”

Bliss admits her technique is still a big ragged. She knows she can get much more out of her throws.

She’s gotten by so far mostly on strength, cultivated from her baseball career as a pitcher in her younger days, as well as the countless hours she’s logged in a pool.

“I think without knowing it, I was training my body for this in swimming and baseball,” Bliss said, chuckling.

Bliss is gunning for a state title this season. She also wants the state record, which is 167-2, set by Fawn Miller of Lakeview in 2008.

“I’ve set my sights on 168 feet,” Bliss said. “That’s my goal. I think what I did today is pretty on par for where I’m headed and where I want to be.”

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