LAKEWOOD — As a junior in 2011, Skyline’s Richard “Chico” Feltenberger burst onto the shot put scene as a relative unknown and won the state title. At the 2012 4A state championships, he backed it up as a senior.
The Skyline High School record-holder, Feltenberger got off to a rough start throwing 47 feet on his first throw Thursday at the state track and field championships at Jefferson County Stadium. But his last throw, a dominant 54-foot, 7 1/2-inch bomb, won him his second straight crown.
“I got all the first-throw jitters out from state and started progressively getting better,” Feltenberger said. “It came down to it and I kept stepping it up and stepping it up. It was a good throw and I’m glad I got one out there. I’m happy. It’s another state title and it’s been fun.”
Denver South’s Samuel Mabany took second and Valor Christian’s Stanley Gilbert took third. But towering atop the championship podium at 6-4, 315 pounds, Feltenberger was surrounded by familiar faces from the neighborhood
To Feltenberger’s right, Silver Creek’s Ben Woo Ching finished in fourth place with a throw of 49-10 inches. To Feltenberger’s left, Longmont’s Marcus Johnson stood in seventh place with a 49-3 toss.
Woo Ching, who was tied with Gilbert before the Valor junior threw 50-5 1/2 in his final throw, was aiming for the top three.
“That was my goal going into the meet,” Woo Ching said. “It was my senior year. I wanted to get top two. I knew I had the ability to and after a solid week of practice, I went in really confident.”
Having not been at his best for his three state-championship appearances, Woo Ching fell just short of his top-three goal as a senior. But, seeing Longmont throwers take three of the top eight spots, he left the prep scene with gratifying pride in his hometown.
“I love it. Obviously, our schools are rivals but at the end of the day we represent the same area and our town,” Woo Ching said. “We’re all from Longmont and it makes for a great competitive atmosphere and I really enjoy both those guys and all the other guys from all the local schools.”
Johnson, a junior, battled a left ankle injury all day and fell short of his 51-4 1/2-inch qualifying throw. He also missed his top-three goal.
“I was a little disappointed, I guess. I thought I’d do better,” Johnson said. “I’ve been throwing 52s in practice consistently.
Woo Ching and Johnson are done, but Feltenberger will be back in action Saturday for the discus.
“Hopefully we can get after that and have a top-three finish,” Feltenberger said.
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