Winning the State A javelin title last spring was a huge moment for Billings Central’s Sean Ward. His focus now is on defending it.
Ward overcame strong competition — and the anxiety resulting from a recovering knee injury — to win the championship on his final attempt at state. The javelin flew 175 feet, 11 inches, nearly a foot farther than the top throw of Ty Morgan from Columbia Falls.
It was by far Ward’s longest heave of the season. By nearly 16 feet.
“I surprised myself,” Ward said. “A few times throwing at state my rhythm was off. I was taking too many steps. I wondered how the mentality of my knee (injury) would affect me, but I just told myself on that last throw to give it my all.
“That last throw is the one that won it. It didn’t look very good to me but when I saw the distance I was excited.”
Ward tore ligaments in his right knee during the 2012 football season in a game in Powell, Wyo. By the time the track and field season rolled around six months later, Ward still wasn’t allowed to take a conventional running start to his throws. It was basically all arm.
He qualified for state on a three-step approach during a meet in Lewistown. It wasn’t until the state meet that he was finally cleared by doctors to utilize his usual 10- or 15-step approach on the runway.
“He was really limited,” said Central throwing coach Lyle Seavy. “He didn’t have much time to work on his footwork. But everything came together.
“Sean is strong. He has a natural release. He’s got a natural, aggressive approach to the toe board. He gets a really nice plant, and just gets his whole body into it. I have a really good feeling about his potential this year.”
Ward expects to again battle Columbia Falls’ Morgan for the Class A javelin crown this spring. But the Central senior is just now getting over a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he suffered during this past football season.
Ward began throwing again last week. He says he’s getting back into the groove.
“The doctor says (the shoulder) is very stable. But he wants me to go slow, just to be cautious. I did some throwing to see how it felt. I got in about 10 throws. The shoulder is feeling great.”
Ward said he will sit out the first few meets of this season. But come the end of May?
“Really, the only person I feel like has the potential to compete with me is Ty Morgan from C-Falls,” Ward said. “He’s a pretty small guy but his technique is really good. I think it’s going to be between me and him.
“It’d be nice to win state again, but I’m going to think of it as a whole new season and make small goals to reach. And hopefully I can reach the state title again.”