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Breakthrough: Monson looks to cap strong season at state

Jamestown's Ross Monson leads all West Region competitors with a throw of 163 feet, 6 inches heading into Saturday's Class A state meet in Bismarck. He sits fifth in the state. Chris Aarhus The Sun

It took a year for Ross Monson to nail down the particulars of throwing the javelin.

Once he did, it’s been smooth sailing.

The junior from Jamestown improved on his previous best throw of 147 feet by hurling the javelin 163 feet, 6 inches to qualify for state at a season-opening meet in Lisbon.

“I felt like this is the year when I could get it in that first meet and just let it fly,” Monson said. “That’s what happened. Once you hit that mark, things just come easier. Technique just starts clicking. All the throws just click for you.”

The mark still stands as the best among West Region throwers and it’s fifth in the state going into Friday’s Class A state meet at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

Monson tapped into the experience he’s gained from other high school sports to help him with the javelin. He’s quarterback of the football team, plays basketball and also manages to fit baseball in with his busy spring schedule.

Moreso, baseball and football provided some know-how in terms of footwork and arm motion.

“I thought it would be a lot like throwing a football coming in,” Monson said. “It’s a whole technique you’ve got to learn. ... The release point is different, but I still use the same grip as a football. With football, you can be from different angles and throw. With javelin, you’ve got to stay with the same technique.”

Spending time in the outfield certainly didn’t hurt.

“The cross step is like crow-hopping a baseball,” Monson said. “It’s the same relation.”

Perhaps the greatest driving force in Monson’s javelin ascension is the competition he receives in practice every day. He goes against the 2013 West Region champion every day in sophomore Nolan Love, who is seeded 14th in the state with a throw of 154-10.

“Nolan was able to hit that 160 at the region meet, and Ross didn’t quite get to that level,” Jamestown coach Ken Gardner said of last season. “They were kind of going back and forth last year. ... The more you do it, the more you gradually get the hang of it.”

And Monson seems to have the hang of it, though he hasn’t duplicated his personal-best throw. He finished second at the West Region meet, coming in just under 160 feet.

“I feel like I can still throw 165 or 170 (feet),” Monson said. “That’s what I want to do and that’s what I’m gonna go get.”

Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or