Zyra Thomas has some company at the top of the Salem County shot put list. It’s junior teammate Ralazha Bell.
Thomas, the national indoor shot put champ at 47-5 3/4, was pushed by her less famous teammate Wednesday at the Salem County Championships, and by the time they were finished, Schalick had two of the top four shot putters in New Jersey Group 1.
Thomas wound up winning the Salem County title with a 40-2 3/4 on her final throw, but Bell was a surprise second-place finisher with a 4 1/2-foot PR of 38-9 1/4.
Schalick is now the only South Jersey school with two 38-foot shot putters this year and one of only three in the entire state. Jefferson has Stephanie Nwankwo at 42-0 and Alicia Boucher at 39-2 1/2, and Ridgewood has Jennifer Kozlowski at 38-2 1/2 and Lexi Uzoaru at 38-1 3/4.
Thomas ranks first in the state in Group 1 (and No, 2 overall) at 44-1, followed by Kassandra Ketcho of Hasbrouck Heights (41-11 1/2), Cydney Thomas of Collingswood (39-6 /4), and Bell.
Bell’s previous PR was a 34-2 at the West Deptford Relays last month, so the Schalick junior PR’d Wednesday by four feet, 7 1/4 inches.
Here’s where Bell’s story gets really interesting.
According to the MileSplit database, the only other major meet she’s ever thrown the shot was the Jim Camburn Relays the first weekend of the season, where she threw 33-11.
Thomas, a junior, competed in track the last two years but never competed in the shot until last month. She ran the 100, 200 and 400 and competed in the triple jump and high jump.
She’s versatile enough that she cleared 4-6 in the high jump Wednesday, placing second, and was also sixth in the 100, helping Schalick win the team title 151-61 over Woodstown. Schalick also won the boys title 116.50-100 over Woodstown.
Schalick is the first South Jersey Group 1 school with two shot putters over 38 feet in the same season in at least a decade.