* Jeff Kline could be the athlete to beat in the boys shot put at NBI
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Boys Shot Put
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Contenders: Jeff Kline (Fleetwood Area, PA), Connor Vass-Gal (Wilmington, PA), Josiah Harry (Mobile Christian, AL), Mason Ellis (West Forsyth, NC), Patrick Passalacqua (NV - Old Tappan, NJ), John Purvis (Winslow Township, NJ), Nathan Cooper (Dothan, AL), Tarik Robinson-O'Hagan (Woonsocket, RI), Christopher Tavarone (Morris Knolls, NJ), Dustin Hyde (Somerset Area, PA), Quinn Smith (Hampton Bays, NY)
Breakdown: It's a log jam at the top of the national shot put rankings, but the nation's top man won't be in attendance, which leaves this event wide open.
Coldwater (MI)'s Dylan Targgart, the 2019 New Balance Nationals Outdoor champion, won't be making the trip to New York this weekend, so the boys shot put crown will be a battle between those just below him in the rankings.
Pennsylvania native Jeff Kline is next in line with his 64 foot, 7.5 inch heave from the PTFCA Indoor State Championship. He's also undefeated this indoor season and finished 20th here last season.
Meanwhile, Connor Vass-Gal finished second to Kline at PTFCA State meet, so he'll be seeking his revenge at the Armory. His season best of 63-11.75 has him as the nation's best junior by over 3.5 feet. Then Josiah Harry starts a massive run of athletes between 60 and 63 feet.
Ellis, Passalacqua, Purvis, Cooper, Robinson-O'Hagan, Tavarone, Hyde and Smith all come in with personal bests at 60-0 or better, making Saturday's event truly anyone's to win.
Interestingly enough, Harry and Cooper, have already kicked off their outdoor seasons with bests of 64-1.25 and 63-4, respectively. Kyle Moison (RI) is the top returner in terms of place from last year's indoor national meet. He finished 14th with his 56-8 toss, but is ranked 24th in the country this winter with a best of 59-4.
* Maria Deaviz has been on fire in the shot put in 2020
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Girls Shot Put
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Contenders: Maria Deaviz (Souderton Area, PA), Emma Callahan (Shenango, PA), Jayden Ulrich (East Alton-Wood River, IL), Amelia Flynt (Katy Cinco Ranch, TX), Valadian Pallett (Farmington, MI), Meaghan Toscano (Germantown Academy, PA), Janae Profit (Dunwoody, GA), Kayla Thorpe (Upper Darby, PA), Siniru Iheoma (Council Rock South, PA), Bryanna Wilson (Donovan Catholic, NJ)
Breakdown: It's a little different story in the girls shot put as the top four girls and 14 of the top 15 in the country will be in attendance Saturday.
Maria Deaviz, another undefeated Pennsylvanian at the top of the ranks, leads the way by just under four feet. This could be her event to lose. She chucked a US No. 15 all-time mark of 51 feet, 10.75 inches at a DVGTCA Meet just over a month ago. After finishing 13th out of 17 competitors last March and 22nd at NBNO, Deaviz looks poised to dominate the event. For perspective, last year's winner threw 46-6, which is five inches behind Deaviz's season best.
And yet, she can't be overly confident. Three girls come in between 46 and 48 feet, as Emma Callahan, yet another Pennsylvanian, enters with a 47-11 season best, followed by Illinois athlete Jayden Ulrich (47-8) and Amelia Flynt (46-8).
Last year's top finisher among underclassmen was Meaghan Toscano, who was fourth. She's improved that 45-1 mark to 45-8 this season, but it looks like it's going to take a much more emphatic improvement for her to grab the crown.