Allen debuts, DiSalvo closes state track career for Community R-6

By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Posted 5/25/23

Community R-6 didn’t come home with any medals but was able to make the trip both days.

Class 1 and 2 State Track and Field Photo Gallery

On Friday and Saturday at the Class 1 state …

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Allen debuts, DiSalvo closes state track career for Community R-6


Community R-6 didn’t come home with any medals but was able to make the trip both days.

Class 1 and 2 State Track and Field Photo Gallery

On Friday and Saturday at the Class 1 state track and field meet at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City, senior Victoria DiSalvo ran in the girls 100- and 300-meter hurdles on Friday in her third career state trip and senior Gavin Allen competed in his first state meet by throwing in the boys javelin on Saturday.

Head coach Trent Pummill said Community has been able to send at least one athlete to the state meet in five straight seasons, as 2020 didn’t have state track because of the COVID-19 pandemic. DiSalvo has been there in three of those years, qualifying in both hurdle events this year after making it in the 100 in her junior year and just the 300 as a sophomore, which is impressive considering the Trojans’ status as a small school.

“It’s pretty difficult because you got to be top four at districts and top four at sectionals just to even think about it,” Pummill said. “With us being Eastern Missouri, we get a lot of the St. Louis private schools, where yeah they’re still Class 1, but they’re private and inner city and they have all the facilities at their disposal. We have to go to Mexico to practice as much as possible, and if we can’t go there, we’re doing hallway work.”

Pummill said Mexico head coach Bucky Green is “really gracious” to let Community’s athletes practice alongside Mexico’s athletes and athletes like DiSalvo do a good job overcoming the less than ideal circumstances. DiSalvo has consistently been in the top three at meets, Pummill said, while being the anchor for the girls 4x100 relay with Sarah Angel, Adriana Woodson and Alyssa Beamer that set a season-best time of 56.45 that just missed state by one place.

DiSalvo finished 16th in the 100 hurdles and was 14th in the 300 hurdles to miss qualifying for finals the next day. The regular season is nowhere as difficult as the competition presented at the state meet, Pummill said. He thinks that’s what happened in DiSalvo’s races as it’s easier for other girls to overtake you aren’t at your best.

“When we get here, you’ve got the cream of the crop,” Pummill said. “All of the times above her were ranked about a second and half or two seconds even faster than her. Seeing what she’s stacked up against, for anybody, that’s going to weigh on their mind going into the race.”

Pummill said DiSalvo was ranked 15th in the 100 hurdles and 13th in the 30 hurdles so there was much ground to make up but gave it her all. 

“Anytime you’re going up against that much of competition, you’re going to try to push yourself maybe beyond your limits,” Pummill said. “You could kind of see in the 300 hurdles. She was holding first for the first 200 meters and then she spent everything she had. That last 100 meters, she had nothing left to give, and she got passed pretty quick.”

Allen wasn’t anywhere near state-caliber a year ago when he entered his first year of track and field, Pummill said, as the future college pitcher for William Woods University couldn’t find as much success throwing the javelin.

“He barely touched 30 meters at certain points, and this year, he’s breaking school records,” Pummill said. “Huge transformation and a lot of credit to the work he’ll put in for baseball and track. You wouldn’t think last year that he would’ve made it this far this year.”

For Allen this year, it wasn’t enough to break the school javelin record once but rather four times until he reached the current record of 46.74 meters he set at sectionals. The previous record he had set was 40.99 meters and the previous record that wasn’t owned by Allen was around 36 meters. 

Pummill said Allen has left a pretty potent mark on the school in the form of his record, but the competitive Allen wanted more. Going in, Pummill said Allen was seeded seventh out of 16 throwers so the podium seemed to be possible. Allen was unable to top his first throw of 41.15 meters within three throws, missing the finals among the eight medalists.

“He wanted to make the finals and had big eyes on the podium,” Pummill said. “He’s a great kid, and he’s got a lot on his mind with the baseball coming on. I think a little bit of that got to him because he’s pitching Monday (in sectionals May 22) and he’s like, ‘I don’t want to hurt my arm.’ Overall, he did the best he could.”

Pummill can’t remember the last time Community has sent a male thrower to state so Allen has much for which to be proud. 

Allen said baseball is his primary sport with his future in college signed and delivered but put in more work in javelin this year because he thought he had a chance to go further with it. He ended up being right and was rewarded with a new worthwhile experience.

“Being able to go to state is something else,” Allen said. “It just shows off the hard work and dedication you have for something else and that you could do it too so it felt nice.”

Pitching and javelin require a similar overhead throwing motion, Allen said, but is still vastly different given the vastly different shapes of the objects. On top of that, he was amongst a field that broke past 50 meters multiple times.

“It definitely was not my best performance today, but I think I was just in my head a little bit with a big stage.”