British indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs promised, “I will not lie to you, but I’ll definitely only give you half the truth,” on their 2008 album “Off With Their Heads.”
The meet results from the Div. III state track and field meet likewise offer only half the truth when it comes to Lake Center Christian field event specialist Jenae Linville.
Making a return trip to Columbus, the junior sought to improve upon a disappointing finish at the state meet last year, when she had one of her worst performances of the season at the worst time. She placed 13th of 16 competitors and devoted her entire year from that day until this year’s state meet to gaining redemption.
On the surface, her 13th place finish in both the shot put and discus this year would seem to be a huge letdown. As the late newsman Paul Harvey would say, you need to know the rest of the story. At the state meet, Linville topped out at 112’7” in the discus and 36’1” in the shot put, both well short of her season best in each event.
However, it was not nerves that did her in. Instead, it was a balky right knee, injured early on during the week of the Navarre Div. III regional meet. Her throws coach and father, Wally Linville, noticed something was amiss during the shot put at the regional meet and asked his daughter what was wrong.
“She hides everything and she won’t let you know she’s having a hard time,” Wally Linville said. “I actually asked her three times, and she finally said, ‘My knee has been killing me.’ You could see the change in her dynamics and movement patterns.”
In spite of the pain, Jenae Linville continued to throw and qualified for the state meet in the shot. When she attempted to practice for the discus the following day, she was physically unable to throw due to the pain. A doctor’s appointment and some therapy allowed her to compete in the discus at the regional meet and she threw 129”1’ for third place and a spot at the state meet. However, the effort left her in enough pain that there was a very real question for she and her parents to answer about whether or not she would throw at the state meet.
“Although it was a minor injury, it caused a lot of pain and we had to decide whether Jenae would compete in pain or not at all, because those were the two choices,” Wally Linville said. “She had to brace it up and that was her first time throwing in a brace, but she still gave a 100-percent effort.”
Throwing with the knee brace was difficult, but Jenae Linville stuck to her plan of having a solid, controlled first throw. The plan for her first throw was for her to settle in and get used to competing in the brace. The plan led a typically solid throw for one of the only girls in Div. III in the state of Ohio who had thrown consistently in the 140-foot range during the season.
Page 2 of 2 - Unfortunately, the disc veered just a foot or so out of bounds and didn’t count. It appeared to land in the range of 130-135 feet, the high end of which would have been enough for a spot on the podium.
After that, Jenae Linville wasn’t about to muster another throw of that quality and despite her best efforts, she landed in 13th place for a second straight year. Making the result all the more disappointing, the distances posted by the rest of the field were anything but impressive. Taylor Baker of Bainbridge Paint Valley won the event with a throw of 138’, more than six feet under Jenae Linville’s best throw of the season.
“It was very disappointing for the competition overall and it made the result that much tougher to swallow,” Wally Linville said.
Also contributing to the tough day at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium was a lack of training time due to the injury. After throwing at the regional meet on Friday, June 1, Jenae Linville was unable to practice on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. A light practice Tuesday and a slightly heavier practice Wednesday followed by a travel day Thursday and competing Friday meant precious little time to make final preparations.
After competing in the discus, the question of whether to take part in the shot put remained. Because she was disappointed with her discus result and felt strong enough to continue, Jenae Linville pushed on. She wanted to “redeem the day a bit,” as Wally Linville said.
Her distance in the shot put, while not her best, was closer to her top throw of the season than her toss in the discus. Abby Grinnell of Sherwood Fairview won the event at 41’1”, five feet past Linville’s best on the day.
A matching 13th-place finish for her discus result wasn’t what she had in mind and the day left a bitter taste in her mouth because she entered the state meet with a much calmer, more relaxed demeanor than she exhibited last year in her first trip to Columbus, when she had a tough time getting comfortable in the cage.
“That really frustrated her because she was absolutely calmer this year and has had a single purpose, to make it back to states,” Wally Linville said. “She only took one week off since last year, the week after states, and had trained in weight room or on field every week since then.”
As Paul Harvey would famously say, “And now…you know the rest of the story.”