Allison Updike has proved she can throw the javelin with the best in Pennsylvania and the U.S.
Now Updike is competing with the best junior javelin throwers in the world.
Updike, who will be a senior at Tamaqua Area High School in the fall, qualified for the finals of the women's javelin competition Tuesday morning at the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Foundations) Junior World Track and Field Championships, which are being held at Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, this week.
Updike is the second javelin thrower from Tamaqua to compete on the international level in as many years. Last summer, Lady Raider alum Casey Wagner, who is attending the University of South Florida, competed in the Pan-Am Junior Games in Trinidad, where she placed fifth.
A member of Team USA at the Junior World Games, Updike had her best throw on her last attempt, reaching 48.93 meters, which translates to 160 feet, 6 inches, to advance to the final 12 this evening.
Updike's personal best is the 167-2 she threw to win the U.S. Junior Nationals at Des Moines, Iowa, last month. That is the same distance as the PIAA State record, which is held by Fawn Miller of Lakeview High School, a University of Florida recruit. In May, Updike won the PIAA Class AA State title in the javelin with a throw of 161-2.
"She advanced on her last throw," said John Kotchmar, Updike's javelin coach, in a phone conversation from Moncton. "She's in the final 12. Nothing from today carries over. She advanced to the final 12, and she will get three throws. The top nine go to the finals.
"Throwing 160 feet here is not a bad thing. She was a little off on her technique. She fought it a little bit. The situation is, everyone who is throwing here is the real deal. We had girls coming in here all with 53, 54 and 55 meters, so they are all capable. The Europeans are all used to this kind of competition, because they do it often. For us, we don't even get to see competition like this, let alone compete in it."
Kotchmar said medaling in the event will be a challenge for Updike, but she still has her own personal goals and benchmarks.
"I was happy with 160," he related. "If she puts it together and finishes her throws, she can look to push 170 feet. You can't control what anybody else does."
Kotchmar said Updike took her place in the opening ceremonies Monday along with the rest of Team USA.
"They put on a nice show, but it really hit home what level she is competing at now," he added.