Yet, it even surprised Laufenberg when she passed that last week.
“I was a bit cocky in seventh grade,” she recalled, attempting to stifle a grin. “I was making all these plans for the future. But I think when I realized when I was good at this was the summer of eighth grade when I broke 30 feet on shot.
“Every day, I’d check the stats of the prior year’s state result and see what place I would’ve got. Every day, I’d get higher and higher.”
Throwing is her favorite pasttime, and the inches come from year-round training. Laufenberg works closely with her father (Chris, a former high school track star in high jump) and James during summers, and lifts through winters.
Thus far, she’s one of two freshmen with top-30 marks in the state of Iowa. Her best shot put throw — 38 feet, 2 inches — is fourth farthest in Class 1A, and her 120-3 throw in the discus is the second-best 1A throw.
Both personal records were set at West Liberty on April 26, where — again — Laufenberg won both events to secure 20 points as a “team.” Her discus throw would’ve qualified her for the Drake Relays had it come eight days earlier.
At West Liberty, for the first time ever, Laufenberg risked losing a shot put competition. She said the rest of the field pushed her toward setting new benchmarks.
“I had tough competition,” she said, recalling a back-and-forth contest with West Liberty’s Kennedi Simon. “I had one try left to beat her, so I threw 38-2, and ended up winning.”
What lies ahead
The further she goes, the more likely it is her streak of shot put victories will end. She owns the best marks going into the Big East conference meet Thursday at Northeast, but after that, Laufenberg will square off against Bri Kintzle and Shelby Steger (of Edgewood-Colesburg) at the district meet, rated second and fourth in 1A for shot put, respectively.