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PROVING HE BELONGS: Union/A-C Valley’s Chalmers Wins State Title in Discus After Disappointing Showing Last Year

Friday, May 26, 2023 @ 06:05 PM

Posted by Mike Kilroy

IMG_2023-5-26-185237SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Last year, Landon Chalmers felt profound disappointment at the PIAA Track and Field Championships.

This year? Pure joy.

What a difference a year makes. Chalmers can certainly attest to that.

(Pictured above, Landon Chalmers)

Last year, he faulted on all three of his throws in the discus.

This year, the Union/A-C Valley senior is leaving Shippensburg with a gold medal around his neck and a large smile on his face.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

Chalmers threw 171 feet, 1 inch on his fifth throw and then beat that by hitting 171-5 on his final attempt to win the state title.

“I was just happy to redeem myself at states,” Chalmers said, grinning. “Last year I didn’t have a single mark. This year I got a pretty good mark and won states with it.”

Chalmers said his goal coming in to the state meet was to break the school record.

“And I did that,” he said, a smile creeping across his face again. “I knew I had a 170 in me. I just needed to make sure I hit my spot and I definitely hit my spot today and just let it fly.”

The first person to congratulate Chalmers was Oil City’s Cam Crocker, who placed seventh with a throw of 162-11.

Crocker embraced Chalmers after his first 170-foot throw and cheered for him loudly on his second big heave on the day.

Cam Wagner of Redbank Valley, who came in with the top-seeded throw, placed sixth at 164-8.

The competition was fierce. Less than seven feet separated the top six competitors.

“It was a lot better competition-wise. The top eight were all over 160,” Chalmers said. “Going into the finals I was fifth or sixth, so I knew I knew I just had to rip one out there.”

Rip one out there he did.

Chalmers was still trying to wrap his mind around his title win, even after climbing off the podium with the proof of his triumph around his neck.

“Last year, I was kind of bummed,” he said. “I told myself, in my mind, I’m gonna come back this year and try to prove to myself that I belong with all the big throwers in the state and today I kind of proved that.”

After the disappointment wore off last year, Chalmers went immediately to work, both in the discus and the shot put.

He committed completely to throwing.

After football season, where he was a standout lineman for Union/A-C Valley and will play at Edinboro University in the fall, Chalmers decided to not play basketball for the Falcons to instead compete in the shot during the indoor season.

“I lifted a lot during the winter, pretty much until the beginning of spring, like mid-spring,” Chalmers said. “I just knew everything I was going to do with Coach (Dave) Sherman was going to help me out.”

Chalmers said it wasn’t an easy choice to leave basketball behind.

But now he may play both football and throw the discus and shot put at Edinboro next year.

“I was kind of sad about not playing basketball, not getting a chance to play one more season with all my buddies,” Chalmers said. “But I knew I had something good coming for me with track, so I just set my mind straight and said I’m not gonna do basketball. I didn’t have big numbers indoors, but it helped me a lot lifting all winter and being able to throw a lot more than I did.”

Chalmers isn’t done.

On Saturday afternoon he will compete in the shot put, where he is seeded fourth.

He was seeded sixth in the discus heading into Friday.

“I like to chase,” he said. “I like to be able to chase up to the top guy and just push myself more to be able to get that top spot.”

Chalmers said he will try to put the rush of his state win in the discus out of his mind on Saturday.

That may not be so easy.

“I’ll tell myself I won states yesterday, but that’s in the past,” Chalmers said. “I’ll tell myself today is a new day.”

On Friday, Chalmers was a new Chalmers.

A state champ.

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” he said. “Everyone is nice and everybody was laughing and cheering each other on. It was a good time. If you don’t have a good time during a track meet, then you’re doing it wrong.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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