Streisel's throws are worth the 'weight'
For the past three years, Christine Streisel has made a name for herself by throwing her weight around.
The Tamaqua junior is one of the best in the area at throwing the discus, she's one of the best in the state at throwing the shot put, and she's one of the best in the country at throwing the javelin.
Her talents and accomplishments this year are unrivaled and Streisel has been aptly recognized as the 2012 TIMES NEWS Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Streisel is the third straight Tamaqua thinclad to win the award, joining Kayla Hope in 2011 and Allison Updike in 2010.
"I think I met a lot of my expectations this year in the discus and shot put, and with the exception of States, I think the javelin went really well too," stated Streisel. "On a whole, this was a really good season for me. I put in a lot of hard work and I think it really paid off."
Streisel holds TIMES NEWS area bests in all three throwing events this season and set Tamaqua school records in the shot put (38-7 1/2) and discus (117-10). Ironically enough, the only school record she doesn't hold is in the javelin, where she is three inches shy of Updike's record mark of 161-2 set in the 2010 State Championships.
After concluding her sophomore season by winning the State Championship in the Class AA javelin, Streisel wasted no time this season by picking up where last year left off.
During the opening week of her junior campaign, she heaved a personal best throw of 160-11 on her fourth and final attempt of the Blue Raider Invitational, which established a new Tamaqua stadium record.
That distance also ranks Streisel second in the country in girls javelin, just behind national record holder Haley Crouser of Gresham High School in Oregon. Crouser, a junior, set the national record with a toss of 181-2 at the Aloha Relays and will be competing at the Olympic Trials later this month.
"When I hit 160 in the beginning of the season, I was very happy and I figured I'd be able to build up and do it consistently," alluded Streisel. "So while it was exciting in the beginning, it was also very disappointing at the end that I wasn't able to repeat that performance."
Streisel did end up repeating as the District 11 Class AA javelin champion and the Schuylkill League javelin champion. Christine also won League and District Championships in the shot put this season.
At this year's Class AA State Championships, Streisel claimed a sixth-place medal in the shot put (38-7 1/2) and a silver medal in the javelin (149-2). Fort Cherry senior Jessie Merckle won the State gold with a throw of 154-1. Streisel, her own biggest critic, was not happy.
"I think mentally I just wasn't there. I tried so hard to go out there and throw really far instead of using what I learned all year and letting my body do what I practiced for so long," said Streisel. "I went out there and tried too hard and it wasn't a good day."
Streisel had a much better day at the Penn Relays, where she became the first Tamaqua athlete to ever win a gold medal with a throw of 154-11, which was the second best throw for a high school girl in the 118-year history of the event.
Just last weekend, Streisel placed third in the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Bloomington, Indiana with a top throw of 151-7, just behind Crouser and 2012 NCAA runner-up Brianna Bain of Stanford.
"For how much Christine has already accomplished, she's never content. She's always resetting goals and pushing to get better," stated Tamaqua head coach Tom Kanger. "She has so much natural talent, and when you combine that with hard work, that's what really makes her special."
If that wasn't enough, Streisel was one of three girls (joining Crouser and Avione Allgood from Legacy High School in Nevada) invited to project Kultan Keihas. She'll go to Kuorta, Finland this summer to continue to get top-level instruction from the likes of Jeff Gorski, 1972 Olympic bronze medalist Bill Schmidt and world-renowned Finnish national coach Kari Ihalainen.
"99.9-percent of the credit goes to my coach John Kotchmar. I know I wouldn't have accomplished half the stuff I have without him," noted Streisel. "Barry Krammes has also been a helping hand in javelin and Michael Sakash has really helped me in the discus and shot put. I'm also very thankful to the community, my school, my family and everyone else who has helped and supported me along the way."
With everything she has already accomplished, it's hard to believe Streisel still has another year left.
"I have big expectations for next year," concluded Streisel. "In the javelin, I still need to get the school record and I want the state record as well. I have a lot of motivation and I'm definitely going to work hard to accomplish all of my goals in all of my events."
Whether it's an 8-pound shot put, a 2-pound discuss, or a 1-pound javelin, there's one thing we can be certain about ... whatever Streisel accomplishes will be well worth the "weight."