When Nicole Steiner unleashed a throw of 41 feet, 6 ½ inches—the top mark in the Central Coast Section this season—in the St. Francis Invitational on March 18, she admitted it wasn’t her most technically sound effort.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of technique. It was just getting up there and chucking the ball,” the Los Gatos High sophomore said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of form there. But hitting that mark was so exciting.”
The Los Gatos coaches must be salivating at the potential throws Steiner can unleash as her technique continues to develop. Spending most of her time with volleyball and then basketball, Steiner has little time to devote to track and field.
However, she makes the most of the time she does have in the sport.
“I think now that I’m not doing softball anymore, I’ve been able to go to [track and field] practice a lot more and my form is getting a lot smoother,” Steiner said. “I still have a lot of room to grow with Kent.”
Working with throws coach Kent Cappen, Steiner said she wants to hone in on a couple of technical aspects to the shot put, which makes a huge difference in how far an athlete can throw it. Steiner said she needs to get her body more into the throws and not be so arm dominant.
“I need to stay back and use my hips and whole body to get behind the ball,” she said. “I’m also trying to get the spin down and if I do that, I think that can help a lot.”
Steiner plays for Vision’s 16U Gold volleyball team and was around the Spokane area for a club volleyball tournament March 24-26. The first couple of months of the club volleyball season are particularly busy and the travel can be downright exhausting.
Three weeks earlier, Steiner was in Kansas City for a premier showcase tournament. She’ll be traveling yet again for another tournament in the first weekend of April, meaning she’ll miss the highly competitive Stanford Track and Field Invitational.
After that, though, Steiner will be able to focus on track and field where she has her sights set on making the podium for the CIF State Championships. She has the No. 3 mark in the state and is optimistic she can go 42 feet or beyond by the time of the CCS Finals in late May.
“I still think I can keep going up because there’s definitely parts of my form that aren’t good that I can improve on,” said Steiner, who also hit a PR of 110-6 in the discus earlier this season.
Steiner is part of a girls team that has several other standouts. That includes Sophie Tau, who has the third best time in the section in the 3200 meter run; Abigail Lo, who has the fourth best mark in the triple jump; Emma Arbitaylo, who has the sixth fastest time in the 200; and Hannah Slover, the defending state champion in the high jump.
Arbitaylo, a sophomore, is also a part of the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay teams that have the fourth fastest times in the CCS. Arbitaylo teamed with Janie Marie Vidovich, Bridget Moore and Jeanette Li for the 4×100 that went 51.03 in the Lynbrook Invitational on March 25.
In the same meet, Arbitaylo, Li, Vanessa Leathem and Sarina Salzer-Swartz posted their fastest time of 4:14.78 in the 4×400 relay race.