Goessel native earns All-American honors in javelin


Contributing writer

Garrett Hiebert, a Goessel High School graduate, earned three points for his team with a sixth-place finish May 22 at the NAIA National Outdoor Track and Field in Edwardsville, Ill.

Hiebert was one of three javelin throwers from Bethel College that qualified for this prestigious event.

"It was good to have guys on my team that had been there before," Hiebert said. "They could give me some idea what to expect."

What seemed to catch Hiebert by surprise was at this national meet there were very few spectators.

"At a state track meet, there are friends and coaches and quite a crowd at the javelin event," he said.

But at the meet there were only a few teammates and a coach, but very few fans.

The athletes arrived in Illinois Tuesday evening and spent Wednesday getting acclimated to the setting.

Thursday morning was rainy, but by afternoon there was a light swirling breeze.

The javelin event was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the first day of the meet.

Throwers started on the javelin runway, crossed the lanes on the track, and threw the javelin onto the infield of the track.

"It took forever," Hiebert, who was assigned to the first flight with his teammates both in the second flight, said.

Preliminary races in the 3200-meter and steeplechase were being run at the same time, so the javelin throwers often had to wait for the runners to pass on the track, before they could throw onto the infield.

On his second throw in the preliminary round, Hiebert launched a toss of 59.31 meters (194'7") which put him with the second best throw at the meet for a short while.

After 10 competitors in the first flight had thrown three times, the athletes had to wait for nine more throwers to warm up and each take three throws in the second flight.

Hiebert, a freshman, watched his All-American teammates throw in the second flight and was pleased to find out that all three Bethel athletes qualified for finals.

Jeff Buller, Hiebert's senior teammate from Inman, launched a throw of 65.43 meters, putting himself in the lead after three throws.

Sophomore teammate David Daugharthy of Iola qualified for finals in seventh place.

Hiebert entered the finals in fourth place and the top nine throwers were each given three final throws.

The weather had gotten a little cooler by this time, and the Goessel native was not able to exceed his second throw of the day.

Two athletes who entered finals in eight and ninth place were able to move up several spots, and Hiebert ended the meet with sixth place.

The top six placers were awarded All-American plaques at an awards platform.

"By the time we got our awards it was 9:30 p.m.," Hiebert said with a smile, "and the 10,000m race was in progress, so hardly anyone was left in the stands."

Bethel College claimed another national champion as Buller held on to the lead and Goessel can claim another All-American in NAIA track and field.