Sports

Fear the Spear

Columbia Falls javelin thrower Angellica Street wins second straight Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year, headed to Texas A&M

For the second year in a row, Angellica Street of Columbia Falls High School has been named the Montana Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She earned the honor without throwing a single javelin this year.

“It’s so unique to even get one, and she’s the first one in the history of the school,” Columbia Falls head track coach Jamie Heinz said. “To have a back-to-back Gatorade player is incredible.”

While in-season performance is usually a key factor in evaluating athletes for the annual award, this year the selection committee took off-season achievements, previous accomplishments and recruit rankings into consideration, according to a Gatorade press release. Athletes were also vetted based on their academics and character.

“This award is definitely a reflection of what she’s done — her goal setting, what she’s done academically to get to be able to compete at a collegiate level,” said Heinz, noting that Street kept a 3.02 GPA throughout her high school career. “Ultimately what this award symbolizes is overall excellence in athletes who are headed to the next level — college and professional — and that’s Angellica.”

Despite COVID-19 canceling her senior season, Street will go down as the best girl javelin thrower in Montana history.

Street is the reigning all-classification state record holder as well as a two-time state champion. Only a true fluke would have denied her a third state title had she been able to compete.

“She would have smashed the record for the state,” said Mike Lyngstad, the Columbia Falls throws coach.

Lyngstad was a national caliber javelin thrower himself and quickly saw Street’s talent when he started working with her.

Street’s state-winning throw last year was a full 37 feet — an entire telephone pole — farther than her nearest competitor. En route to winning her state title, Street threw a personal best of 158 feet, eight inches. That throw ranked her fourth in the nation, and she was the only thrower in the top seven who didn’t graduate last year, in essence giving her a preseason number-one national ranking this spring

Street turned the heads of top college coaches around the country, and she ultimately signed at letter of intent with Texas A&M, a Division I collegiate powerhouse in her event.

While at an elite training camp last summer, Street had several throws that were in the mid 160-foot range, an improvement that puts her on a trajectory to fulfill her biggest goal — the Olympics.

In order to qualify for the Olympic Trials, which will be held next summer with the postponement of the Tokyo Games, Street will need to throw at least 54 meters, or just over 177 feet.

“If she progresses like I think she can, I think she can qualify and go to the trials,” Lyngstad said. “I don’t think she’ll be ready to make the team this year. But then her senior year, when she’ll probably be in the best competitive shape she’s ever been, is also an Olympic year, and I really expect her to be in the mix to make the Olympic team.”

If you enjoy stories like this one, please consider joining the Flathead Beacon Editor’s Club. For as little as $5 per month, Editor’s Club members support independent local journalism and earn a pipeline to Beacon journalists. Members also gain access to www.beaconeditorsclub.com, where they will find exclusive content like deep dives into our biggest stories and a behind-the-scenes look at our newsroom.