Boys Track: Niles West thrower Bramlett advances Downstate
4/20/2012 Niles Niles West senior Terrence Bramlett competes in the shot put event during the annual Notre Dame Dons Relays at Notre Dame High School on Friday, April 20, 2012. | michael jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 28, 2012 1:33PM
In consecutive weeks, Niles West’s Terrance Bramlett looked on as Glenbrook South’s Max Leonard outdistanced him in the discus preliminaries.
At the CSL South meet, Leonard launched a school-record throw of 178-feet-7 to win the conference title. At last week’s sectional, the Titans’ senior threw 158-3 to Bramlett’s 156-7 in preliminaries to seemingly set the stage for a battle in the finals between the CSL South’s two top throwers.
That showdown was a letdown, however, as Bramlett scratched on two throws and only cleared 137-5 in the finals. After his last throw failed to top Leonard’s best, Bramlett exchanged a glance and a smile with Leonard as he passed on the way to his final throw.
For Bramlett, that exchange served as a partial acknowledgement of the effect Leonard had on him in the sectional and conference meets.
“That actually helps a lot because I know once he throws I have to push myself to the limit to catch up to him and throw it better,” said Bramlett. “He helped a lot.”
While Leonard beat Bramlett by nearly two feet in the discus, the Niles West senior won the Loyola sectional shot put by 2-9 over second place Ethan Smith of New Trier.
Bramlett will compete in both throwing events at this weekend’s state meet.
“My shot’s a little off because I threw it 52-9,” Bramlett said. “But I know I can do better.”
Bramlett’s personal-best in the shot put this season is 55-3, a more than five-feet improvement since his junior season.
The biggest difference between from last year is Bramlett’s technique. Bramlett has grown much more comfortable throwing with full turns, increasing the torque and power on his throws while simultaneously scratching less.
“I just had a bad year,” Bramlett said of last season. “I made a lot of improvement because I just started full turns last season and I wasn’t doing great — scratching everywhere, throwing bad throws. I don’t think I had over 50 (feet in the shot put) in a meet. But this year I came back focused, determined to get the full turn down and that’s what happened. I had good throws.”
Bramlett’s shot put at Loyola places him squarely in the middle of the state qualifying throws recorded at sectionals. If he’s able to replicate his season best, the Niles West senior knows he’s capable of earning a berth in the state finals.
“Just PR, PR, PR,” said Bramlett of his mind-set heading into the state meet. “Just get better throws because I know I can throw a 165 in disc, and in shot put I know I can push myself to go further — three more feet at least — so that’s my whole goal, to PR at state.”