Red Lion's Madisen Kling set for final chapter of record-breaking, title-winning career
- Red Lion discus standout Madisen Kling will finish her high school career in the coming weeks.
- Kling is the defending PIAA Class 3-A girls' discus champion.
- Kling will compete in the York-Adams League Championship Meet on Friday at Dallastown.
- That will almost certainly be followed by the District 3 and PIAA Class 3-A meets.
Madisen Kling continued a family tradition when she signed up for the Red Lion High School girls' track-and-field program.
"My mom, my uncles, they competed in track and field when they were in high school," Kling said. "My uncle, Blain Donagher, has the school shot-put record."
Kling knows records, too.
Last year, as a junior, she set the girls' school record in the discus with a throw of 143 feet, 7 inches. This year, she rewrote the mark with a toss of 150-7.
Kling also holds the York-Adams League Championship Meet record in the same event.
The records, while certainly impressive, are only part of Kling's resume.
Last spring, she did something special by winning gold medals at the three major season-ending meets — York-Adams, District 3 and PIAA.
Kling became the first Red Lion athlete in 21 years to win a state track-and-field gold medal.
"As a junior, I was a little surprised to win at states (in Class 3-A), but I was very happy when I did it," she said. "I was the last thrower at states, and I knew I had it (the gold medal) won before my last throw. I just wanted to have fun with it (the final throw)."
Coach saw potential: Kling's throwing coach, Jason Smith, saw her potential before she ever joined the varsity program.
"She set the junior-high record," said Smith, who's been coaching at Red Lion for 16 seasons, nine with the varsity. "The things that stands out about Madisen are her love of the sport and her dedication. She practices Saturday and Sunday, she practices in the summer."
Kling, in turn, is quick to point out Smith's role in her success.
"He taught me technique, the value of hard work and to never give up," she said.
Record-setting season: Kling heads to the league meet on Friday night having set meet records in five invitational meets this season.
"I would like to hit 155 at Dallastown (site of the league meet) and 160 at districts," she said.
Kling's preparation for the three season-ending meets is different than during the dual-meet season.
"We're not doing as many throws (in practice), but we're working more on technique," she said. "We're doing 15-20 throws, compared to 30-40 a month ago. The lifting schedule is a bit different, too. We will do less reps but with a bit heavier weight."
Final run at big three: Kling is prepared for her final appearance at the big three meets, although one thing has changed since last year.
"Last year, I was the underdog," she said."This year, everyone will be gunning for me."
Kling's track-and-field career will continue after high school. She's planning to attending Shippensburg University.
"The school is kind of far away, but not that far that I can't come home on a weekend if I want. Plus, they have a tremendous criminal-justice program."
Familiar with Shippensburg: Kling won't need a tour of the track-and-field facility at Shippensburg. It's where the District 3 and PIAA meets take place each year.
As she looks forward to the final chapter of high school competition, she'll also look back on the special moments at Red Lion.
"I'll remember the coaching staff and all my teammates who were always there for me," she said.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.