Liberty North was well represented at the NCAA Division I Track and Field National Championship in Eugene, Oregon. Ava Curry graduated from Liberty North in 2018. She represented the Missouri track team while Braden Presser competed for Navy. Presser ended his career with the Eagles in 2020.
The pair qualified for the national championship in the javelin by finishing in the top 12 of their region, Curry in the west preliminaries and Presser in the east.
Curry said it was incredible to see a fellow Liberty North athlete in the competition she has been trying to qualify for since she stepped foot on Mizzou’s campus.
“To have two of the top 48 men and women javelin throwers in the NCAA be Liberty North alums is awesome,” she said. “We were able to get breakfast the day before the meet started. The community support that we both felt leading into it was much appreciated.”
A throw of 166 feet for Curry placed her 19th in the final meet of the year on June 9. This throw put her around the same distance she has been throwing all season. Although, she was hoping for a personal best or a better throw, the experience she gained in the national championship will fuel her going forward.
“All the work that I have put in over the past three years has paid off,” she said. “The competition did not go as I had hoped for, but there were some really great takeaways that make me excited for next season.”
For Presser, he ended in 18th place with a throw of 220 feet 6 inches.
Liberty North coach Ken Peek has been at the helm of the javelin group for the past five years. He has guided great athletes to the top, including this year with Matt Morrison grabbing the individual state title. He also coached Kayley Lenger to a runner-up finish in this year’s state track meet.
“Coach Peek really has an interest to get the event started and get kids interested in the event,” Curry said. “He took it into his own hands to learn the event so he could better coach these athletes.”
Curry is poised to come back next year with more strength and technique as she has goals already set for her final year with the Tigers.
Presser, who is only a sophomore, hopes to back in the same position next year.
“The goal is obviously to get back to nationals, but mainly, I want to be an all-American,” Curry said. “That is what I am shooting for next year and doing whatever it takes to get there.”
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