Figuring out who was the first S.J. girl to throw 40 feet in the shot put … and the all-time girls shot top-50!!!

In some events, these top-50 lists are packed with performances from the 1970s. In the girls discus, there’s nobody from before 1980 in the top-50 or even close.

The earliest mark in the top-50 is a 134-0 by Pemberton’s Lillian Rivera in 1984. 

Which is relatively recently in track and field terms.

It got us wondering what the South Jersey record was before Lillian, who was a rare Meet of Champions winner in all three throws! 

The answer? 

Lynn Kowal of Highland.

Kowal threw 126-5 at the 1980 Camden County Championships at Haddon Township, breaking the South Jersey record of 124-8 set a year earlier by Amy Gaines of Kennedy. Kowal also won the shot that day with a 39-4 1/4, which was a pretty big throw back then as well.

Kowal took second at the state Group 4 meet at 125-5 (and won the shot) and then added a few inches to her South Jersey record at the Meet of Champions when she threw 126-11 and placed third at the Meet of Champions.

That stood as the South Jersey record for four years, until Rivera threw 132-8 at the 1984 Burlington County Open at Willingboro. Rivera extended her own mark to 134-0 at the South Jersey Group 4 sectionals at Toms River East.

The record then became the property of Millville’s Geri Riley [140-0 in 1987], Eastern’s Tisha Kerrin [153-6 in 1989 and she broke the S.J. shot record the same day], Jamine Moton of Delsea [161-1 in 1997] and finally Jessica Woodard of Cherokee [168-10 in 2013].

Putting together the girls outdoor shot put top-50 and realizing that there have been more than 50 South Jersey girls who’ve thrown at least 40 feet got us wondering who the very first 40-foot thrower was.

The answer is an interesting one. Because in the late 1970s there were a bunch of 40-foot throwers. But none of them are on the list.

It turns out that up through 1979, the official high school shot put weighed eight pounds. South Jersey had two 40-foot throwers with the old lighter shot, including Merritt James of Woodbury, who set a South Jersey old-shot record of 43-8, and Clayton’s Emma Painter, who threw 42-10 1/2, both in 1979. Two others, Amy Gaines of Kennedy and Griselda Thomas of Willingboro, just missed at 39-11 1/4 and 39-10 3/4.

In 1980, the shot changed to 4 kilograms, which is about 8.2 pounds, and a new set of records went into effect.

The first South Jersey girl to reach 40 feet with the new shot was Denise Thomas, who first hit 40 feet at the 1980 Woodbury Relays, when she threw 41-10. (Because Denise Thomas isn’t listed in Ed Grant’s 1979 Girls Fall New Jersey at all with the 8-lb shot and then shows up a year later throwing close to 42 feet with the heavier shot I wonder if Griselda Thomas and Denise Thomas are the same person).

Thomas held the South Jersey record for nine years, until Tisha Kerrin of Eastern broke her record with a 41-10 1/2 at the state Group 4 meet and then Angela Solomon of Overbrook in turn broke her record with a 43-6 3/4 four days later at the Meet of Champions.

The South Jersey record then changed hands times seven times in the next 23 years: Janet Morris of Kingsway [43-8 3/4 in 1991], Typhanie Bates of Williamstown [44-2 1/2 in 1995], Jamine Moton of Delsea [44-5 in 1997], Melinda Boykin of Bridgeton [44-5 1/4 in 1998], Nacole Moore of Bridgeton [46-1 1/2 in 2000], Janiece Rose of Delsea [46-4 in 2011] and Jessica Woodard of Cherokee [47-1 1/4 in 2013].

Woodard’s seven-year run as S.J. record holder is longest since Denise Thomas held it from 1980 through 1989.

S.J. Girls Outdoor Shot Put All-Time Top-50

47-1 ¼ … Jessica Woodard [Cherokee], 2013
46-4 ……… Janiece Rose [Delsea], 2011
46-1 ½ … Nacole Moore [Bridgeton], 2000
46-0 ¼ … Zyra Thomas [Schalick], 2018
45-7 ½ … Ronetta Hunter [Burlington Twp.], 2015
45-5 ……… Sylvia Galarza [Millville], 2004
44-9 ¾ … Najeaya Singleton [Vineland], 2016
44-9 ……… Kim Warren [Atlantic City], 2006
44-9 ……… Lola Agabalogun [Egg Harbor], 2013
44-5 ¼ …. Melinda Boykin [Bridgeton], 1998
44-5 ……… Jamine Moton [Delsea], 1997
44-4 ¼ …. Dana White [Camden], 2000
44-3 …. Jocelyn White [Delsea], 2004
44-2 ½ …. Typhanie Bates [Williamstown], 1995
44-0 ¾ …. Mercedes Hicks [Atlantic City], 2006
43-11 … Donovan Bennett [Vineland], 2015
43-11 … Cydney Thomas [Haddon Heights], 2019
43-8 ¾…. Janet Morris [Kingsway], 1991
43-7 …..… Shamire Rothmiller [Glassboro], 2008
43-6 ¾ … Angela Solomon [Overbook], 1989
43-6 ¾ … Talita Silva [Bridgeton], 2003
43-4 ½ … Rose Perry [Riveride], 2003
43-2 ½ … Lacole Fields [Camden], 1996
42-7 ¼ … Tara Daniels [Kingsway], 2013
42-6 … Dana Hall [Absegami], 1998
42-3 …… Tessie Allen [Kingsway], 2007
42-1 ¼ … Shanna Campbell [Pemberton], 2007
42-0 ¼ … Alexis Kennedy [Millville], 2012
42-11 …… Kyanna Deravin [Pemberton], 2014
41-10 ½ … Tisha Kerrin [Eastern], 1989
41-10 …… Denise Thomas [Willingboro], 1980
41-9 ¼ … Stephanie Scaramella [Bishop Eustace], 2006
41-7 ¾ … Genevieve Rybicki [Our Lady of Mercy], 2007
41-7 ¼ … Erica Davis [Northern Burlington], 2001
41-7 ¼ … Katrina Guerrier [Absegami], 2010
41-6 ½ … Lillian Rivera [Pemberton], 1984
41-5 ½ … Victoria Imbesi [Our Lady of Mercy], 2009
41-5 …… Nyla Noble [Egg Harbor Twp.], 2014
41-5 ½ … Amaya Reed-Clark [Paulsboro], 2019
41-4 …… Ciarra Johnson [Winslow Twp.], 2016
41-2 …… Bernadette McGowan [Paul VI], 2015
41-2 …… Alijah Caul [Sterling], 2019
41-1 ¾ … Danea Wint [Vineland], 2015
41-0 ¾ … Emma Painter [Clayton], 1980
40-11 …… Paula Glass [Atlantic City], 1986
40-11 …… Lavon Childress [Paulsboro], 2011
40-10 …… Betsy Kennedy [Delran], 2000
40-9 ½ … Marla Burden [Bridgeton], 2005
40-9 …… Dana Keister [Absegami], 2008
40-9 …… Katie Johnston [Haddonfield], 2012

2 thoughts on “Figuring out who was the first S.J. girl to throw 40 feet in the shot put … and the all-time girls shot top-50!!!

  1. Joseph C. KALNAS May 16, 2020 / 1:44 am

    Just a heads up, 4 kg is 8.8 pounds. And Jude Misko is listed at 43’ 9 1/2”, he is a man and presently competing for Rutgers Camden. Curious who #50 will be once he’s removed.

    Like

    • sjtcaweb May 16, 2020 / 11:31 pm

      Yikes, no idea how I dude got in the list. Fixed it. There was a tie for #50 so #50 becomes #49 and #51 becomes #50. Thanks for the heads up!

      Like

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