The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 1, 2013

On the Right Track

CLINTON – A glance at the Steamer Invitational results from Fulton is to scan typical track agate. In the girls events, Erie/Prophetstown, Riverdale and Clinton claimed the top three team prizes; eight other teams rounded out the standings.

Near the bottom, in ninth-place, was Prince of Peace with 20 points, well below contending for a team title. In track meets, the success of the Irish depends solely on the success of Sydney Laufenberg, a freshman, who competes in only two events: shot put and discus.

She’s the team’s best athlete. She’s its only athlete.

And as the eyes scroll through the rest of the results, maybe one more thing stands out:

When it comes to throwing, freshman Laufenberg is dominant.

One great to another

Track has taken Sheena James far. Ten years ago she graduated from Clinton High, yet she still holds the school record for shot put. During her River Queens days, James was a champion at both Drake Relays and the state meet, earning gold medals for shot put.

Those successes yielded a four-year Division-I career at Purdue University. There, too, James holds records that have yet to fall.

Now, she helps train Laufenberg, and when she sees the results James relates as a fellow standout.

“She is honestly miles ahead of where I was at this time in my career,” said James (an assistant track coach at Ashford University). “I’m just in awe, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us. ... The sky is the limit for her success and potential, and it’s unprecedented.”

Laufenberg said she set the bar high for herself in seventh grade. She essentially planned out her entire high school career. This year, she was supposed to break 38 feet in shot put competition.

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