Monday, June 13, 2005

Track & Field

Mention of a men's shotput standout on his way to Georgia Tech:

Machesney Park Harlem's Richard Behling and Jared Richardson have both become household names in the track and field circles.

The duo dominated this outdoor season, leading the Huskies to a second-place finish at the Harlem Class AA sectional last Friday.

They both had an impressive meet and have qualified for this weekend's IHSA Class AA boys track and field meet for a third consecutive year.

"Anytime an athlete qualifies for the state meet, it is an honor and a reflection on that athlete's athletic ability. So that is true with Jared and Richard," Harlem coach Richard Johnson said.

Behling, a Georgia Tech signee, won the shot put with a throw of 57 feet, 4 inches to set a personal record, and later broke the sectional mark in the discus at 185-7. It's one of several records he owns, including school records in each event.

Behling has become state and nationally known in the both the shot put and discus. This year alone, he has broken several records at various meets and currently holds the state's best mark of 191-3 in the discus. It's even more amazing that Behling didn't actually start
off as a good thrower when he came out for track as a freshman.

Harlem throw coach Lyle Rich remembers Behling's early development.

"When he was a freshman he was 6-3 and weighted about 200 or 205, just really tall and lanky," Rich said. " He didn't really know how to spin and his parents didn't allow him to spin in junior high because they wanted him to learn to throw with power first and then learn the correct techniques of the spin. Over the years, he has shown so much improvement with his work ethic."

Behling, who also starred at defensive lineman for the Huskies, said he wants to improve upon his third-place finish in the discus at state this weekend.

"Personally, I expect to win discus at 195 or better, hopefully 200, because the state record is 198 and that's the best throw ever," he said. "I want to break that."