LONGMONT — So much for the Longmont area becoming irrelevant after dominating the statewide discus scene during the Valarie Allman era.
Most coaches in the Longmont area just chalk it up to an abundance of good throwing coaches in the area. Good coaching is something Longmont High School’s Keely Parish, who picked up right where Allman left off as the statewide pacesetter in the discus, has never had to look far for.
Parish’s father Chad Parish, who owns and operates No Limits Sports Performance & Fitness training center in Longmont, has been Keely Parish’s coach from day one. With their run together coming to an end along with this, Keely’s senior season, the father-daughter duo is looking to cap its impressive run with a bang.
“What makes this season special for me is simply the fact that it’s my last year to be coached by my dad,” Parish said. “It’s kind of odd to think about but I told myself at the beginning of the year that we were going to go all out and we’re going to make something big happen. Because it’s the last year, we’re going to go for it.”
For four years now, arguably the top prep discus thrower in Colorado is coming out of the city of Longmont. From 2012-13, it was Silver Creek’s Allman who put Longmont on the map by shattering the Colorado prep all-classification discus record as a senior in 2013. Now Parish, who placed second in 4A last season, has picked up right where Allman left off and is making sure the Colorado track and field community keeps its eyes fixed towards Northern Colorado.
At one time ranked as high a fourth in the nation, Parish threw 153-2 feet at the Mountain Range Mustang Invitational on April 4, which currently stands as the seventh farthest throw in the nation. Before she graduates and heads off to throw at Hastings College in Nebraska, Parish said her goal is to be throwing between 167 and 170 feet by the end of this season. If she could do that at state, Parish would not only likely win a state title, but has a shot to break the state meet record set at 167 feet, 3 inches just two years ago by Allman.
Valor Christian’s Haley Showalter, Colorado’s defending 4A state champion, may have something to say about that.
Ranked eighth nationally, Showalter is right behind Parish after throwing 152-8 at the Mullen Adidas Runners Roost on April 11. Destined to be rivals, Parish and Showalter have been going back and forth from a distance since Showalter (149-01) edged Parish (147-08) by 17 inches to claim the 2014 4A state title.
“It’s kind of a battle back and forth when you get into that block of girls in the top ten that go from 150 to the 160s,” Parish said. “It’s a fun rivalry between Haley and I. She’s really nice and I’ve decided that it would be fun to see what we can do if we go back and forth and see what happens at state. If I can hit 170, that would be great.”
The rivalry provides an intriguing contrast between Showalter’s power and Parish’s technique. The state’s top two throwers, both of whom are coached by their fathers, won’t face one another head to head until the state meet. For now, Parish is focused on this weekend’s Boulder County Invitational, which annually seems to bring the best out of the area’s top track and field athletes. Parish is hoping the atmosphere will help her pop a new personal best throw.
Chad Parish, who threw in high school and has a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sport science from the University of Wyoming, said Parish is right on track.
“That has been a great rivalry all season and it will continue until state,” Chad Parish said. “We’re entering what we call the championship season with BoCo, Conference, St. Vrain Invite and State all in five weeks. We’re working more on the mental side of things at this point. The ultimate goal is to win the state championship in discus and that’s our focus from here on out.”
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