Sofia Malamura had a lot going for her last year. A school record in the discus. A trip to state in the discus and shot put. And a senior season still to come.
One thing the Jefferson High track and field standout didn’t have was someone to give her a push.
That all changed this spring when freshman Kayla Adams came aboard.
Now, those two form a tandem that could bring home gold and silver this weekend from the Class 4A Star track state championships in Pasco.
“On the (second) meet, she threw a 38 or a 37,” Malamura recalled of one of Adams’ early shot put performances. (She was close on both counts: Adams’ mark was 37 feet, 10 inches.) I was thinking, ‘Uh-oh– I have competition.’
“But practice is more intense this year,” Malamura added. “Last year, I had basically no competition.”
The two Raiders could wind up throwing more than just the shot put and discus. By the time this weekend is over, they could be throwing quite a victory part. Heading to Star Track, which began Friday (results unavailable), they are ranked 1-2 in the shot: Adams at 41 feet, 1 1/2 inches; Malamura at 40-7. Battle Ground’s Gabi Dixson is the nearest challenger, and she’s more than a foot behind at 39-5 1/2.
“For me, it was kind of expected,” Malamura said of her high ranking. (She also is ranked second in the discus at 133-0, leaving her about five feet shy of the 137-9 posted by Cascade’s Brittany Jones.) “For her, after a couple meets, I kind of figured she would make it.”
Added Adams, “I didn’t really know what to expect, since it was my first time. I did (shot) in seventh grade, but it wasn’t intense like it is here. In seventh-grade P.E., they wanted me to try it, and I liked it.”
In a span of 2 1/2 weeks, both girls broke the oldest record in the Jefferson track and field books. The mark of 40-6 by Terry Noble had stood since 1974. Adams launched her 41-footer on April 19 in the Bellevue Invitational; Malamura hit 40-7 in the South Puget Sound League sub-district meet on May 7.
“It was like a shock,” Adams said. “It didn’t hit me until a couple days later.”
“We were all geared up for Sofia to break the record,” said Tommy Decker, the head coach for the Jefferson boys who works with all of the school’s throwers. “We’re watching (after Adams’ throw in Bellevue), and the guy pulls the tape and pulls the tape and pulls the tape …
“When you’re first learning something, you can kind of pop a big one.”
And that’s the upside to Adams. While the ever-consistent Malamura, who owns multiple positions on the school record board, is about to end her Raiders career, Adams is just getting started and, like freshmen everywhere, is still finding her way.
“Once she’s able to get her feet underneath her, she’s going to be one of the best in the state for the next two-three years,” Decker said. “She’s throwing 41 with pure strength. When she combines (strength and technique), she’ll be out there at 46, 47.”
Malamura, who also starred for Jefferson’s girls basketball team, is determined to see that a record which once stood for 34 years doesn’t last any longer than 34 days this time. The shot put finals were Friday. She placed fourth last year at 39-6, and was fifth in the discus at 123.5.
“I want to throw a 43,” Malamura said, adding that getting there is equal parts mind and body. “It’s mental, but it’s also getting it down right and putting it together and being awake and alert.”
Malamura also is ranked second in the discus at 133-0, which she also hit in the sub-district meet on May 7 to break her own year-old school record of 127-7. Adams is at 117-11 in the discus, which she popped in last weekend’s West Central District meet to place fourth. That marks ranks 12th statewide among Class 4A competitors.
Neither girl used to be all that fond of the discus.
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t like discus at all. I wanted to quit, but (Decker) wouldn’t let me,” Adams said. “Now, I’m starting to get my technique down.”
Malamura recalled some similar frustrations.
“Freshman year, it was more shot put,” she said when asked if she had a favorite event. “Now, they’re more equal. I’m just learning the right way to throw it.”
With the help of some friendly competition giving her a push.