Krezmer top seed today for PIAA javelin

Montoursville’s Matt Krezmer had already thrown the discus before he arrived to attempt his series of throws for the javelin at the District 4 Championships in 2012. He was a little winded and didn’t quite feel like himself.

Krezmer, then a junior, was supposed to qualify for the PIAA Championships. The top two finishers from each event automatically advanced to the state championships and Krezmer was seeded first.

He was hesitant, however, and didn’t put together a series of throws he and Montoursville assistant coach Mike Cillo had grown accustomed to. None of his attempts that day allowed him to reach Shippensburg University, the site of the PIAA Championships. He placed third and just missed the state qualifying standard. His best attempt of 174 feet, 10 inches was beyond respectable, but left Krezmer questioning himself.

A long year awaited. Redemption would have to wait.

“I compared it to Keenan Michael tripping over a hurdle his junior year (at the PIAA Championships) and having a whole year to think about it,” Cillo said.

All Michael did was return for his senior season and set a PIAA record in the 110-meter hurdles that still stands.

Krezmer has shown that type of perseverance, thus far, and hopes to join Michael as a PIAA champion. He’ll get his chance today at the PIAA Championships in Shippensburg as the top seed in the boys Class AA javelin that begins at 9 a.m.

Brandon Smith, who won the 2012 Class AA district championship but who Krezmer defeated at the District 4 Championships last week, is seeded second and Montgomery’s Colton Harer is sixth.

The victory over Smith on Saturday at Susquehanna University showed the maturation of Krezmer. When the Lewisburg senior let fly a throw of 197-1, Krezmer quickly approached the runway and confidently and without any hesitation unleashed a personal best toss of 204-9.

“It meant a lot to win this year, especially after being seeded first last year and then not making it to states,” Krezmer said. “After Brandon threw his last throw, I just knew I couldn’t let the same thing happen again and I came up with a big throw.”

Gone were the mental games. A year after leaving the district championships with heavy disappointment, Krezmer left Susquehanna University a champion.

“He stepped right on the runway and started immediately after Brandon threw that 197,” Cillo said. “The difference was last year he would have thought about it.”

Krezmer is the best javelin thrower in District 4, regardless of class, and he could be the best in the state depending on this weekend.

The 2012 district championships molded Krezmer into the athlete he is today. Sure the pain lingered for a while, but Krezmer endured. He trained his mind and body. He studied films, went to clinics, hit the gym and began running anywhere from a mile to five to improve his stamina and endurance.

The extra work showed throughout the season as Krezmer progressed from throwing 160 feet during the cold part of the season to becoming the Warriors’ school-record holder in the javelin and eventually adding to that record which now stands at 204-9.

Few were better this season, including no one at the Bruce Dallas Invitational at Cumberland Valley, the Lock Haven High School Classic, during the dual meet season, at the PHAC Championships or at the district championships.

Through it all, Krezmer remained the same person. The senior shows little emotion on the runway, according to Cillo, but don’t misunderstand his casual approach.

“Once Matt is up there (on the runway) he is all business,” Cillo said. “You can see it.”

The only place this season where Krezmer failed to win was at the prestigious Penn Relays. While he didn’t leave Philadelphia a champion, he left with valuable lessons that could make him one this weekend.

“Penn Relays really put me in a perspective where I wasn’t the best and made me want to work harder and now with my throw (204-9) I am one of the best in the country which is a huge confidence booster and knowing I have competed against the best, I won’t be as nervous,” Krezmer said.

“That day Matt saw he could do it against the best javelin throwers in our country and some from other countries, too,” Cillo said, “and then he came back and won Lock Haven with a throw of 195.”

Krezmer is used to having plenty of eyes on him.

The senior has worked with Bing Pursel from Bloomsburg. Pursel is a friend of Cillo’s and someone he calls a javelin guru. Pursel, who is the uncle of Tyler and Amber Kachelries of Jersey Shore, and Krezmer traveled to North Carolina earlier in the year for a clinic and they were able to pick the brains of some of the top coaches in the country.

“He has been a big help and him and Mike are just as excited as me,” Krezmer said. “I couldn’t have asked for better help.”

Krezmer would like to thank them today with a PIAA medal, hopefully gold.

“I would love to get the gold at states but I would be really happy with anything in the top three,” he said. “It would mean a lot to me and all of the people who have helped me in the past year.”