Ohio Highland Games, Alaska Highland Games

Kerry Overfelt won the Ohio Scottish Games and Larry Brock won the Alaska Highland Games.

2009 Ohio Scottish Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

Beautiful weather attracted more than 10,000 people to the Ohio Scottish Festival yesterday to witness a dominating performance by Kerry Overfelt, who caused a major upset with a thumping win over the current world champion, Sean Betz.

In the 28-lb. Braemar stone, the rules do not permit the moving or lifting of the feet, which is very difficult to do.  The event was won by Chris Chaffin with a huge throw of 35’ 3” that set a new ground record in the process.  Second was Sean Betz with 34’ 1” and third was Craig Smith with 33’ 2”.

But in the 16.4-lb. open stone, Betz made a comeback with a winning throw of 52’ 4”, with Smith in second at 51’ 1” and the Canadian champion Greg Hadley in third at 50’ 6”.

In the 56-lb. weight for distance, Kerry Overfelt produced a magnificent throw for the win with 45’ 3”; in second was Hadley at 42’ 9” and in third was Mark Valenti at 40’ 2”.

An exciting 22-lb. hammer competition came down to the wire, with Overfelt stealing the win from Betz with a distance of 107’ 5”, and Betz just inches behind at 107’ 2”.  Hadley was in third place at 102’ 9”.

The caber toss proved very difficult as the competitors were throwing on a dirt track, and only three turned the mighty stick, which was 19’ long and 132 lb.  Once again, Overfelt showed great form in a winning toss of 12:30.  Steve Pulcinella was second with 10:30 and Hadley third with 9:15.

In the 56-lb. weight over the bar, Kerry Overfelt used the spin technique and won with a height of 17’.  Second was Chris Chaffin, also using the spin, reaching 16’.  Third equal were Greg Hadley and Sean Betz using the traditional standing style, both clearing 15’.

There is no doubt that Overfelt is having a great season thus far, and we hope to see him in action at this year’s IHGF World Hammer Throwing Championships at Pleasanton in September.

Overall top three:

1.  Kerry Overfelt   63 points

2.  Sean Betz           56

3.  Greg Hadley       55

2009 Alaska Highland Games

Reported by Francis Brebner

The Alaska Highland Games this weekend saw Larry Brock take top honours, with veteran Ryan Vierra securing second place overall.

It has not been an easy start to the season for both these athletes, with Brock suffering from a nagging hip injury, which showed in his throwing in early May competitions, and it was worrying me whether he would be able to compete in this year’s world championships in Edinburgh, Scotland in July.  Vierra was suffering from major ankle problems and at one point it looked as if he might have to pull out of this year’s season as his impairment was causing so much difficulty in his training and throwing.  But both boys are back on track with a new ground record and impressive distances thrown at this year’s Alaska Games to prove it.

The event began with the 56-lb. weight for distance.  Brock blasted out a 46’ 7-1/2” throw for the win, with Vierra in second with 44’ 10-1/2” and Harrison Bailey III in third with 43’ 6”.

In the 18-lb. open stone, Vierra produced a winning throw of 47’ 1-1/2”, followed by Brock, who was just behind with 46’ 2-1/2”.  Bailey again took the third spot at 44’ 4”.

A great lead performance of 87’ 6” in the 28-lb. weight for distance was a clear sign to Brock that things were coming back together for him.  In second was Vierra at 83’ 7”, and Bailey took a consistent third with a throw of 79’ 5”.

The next event was the 20-lb. Braemar standing stone put, where we saw a new ground record established by Vierra with a distance of 40’ 4”.  Brock was only a half inch behind at 40’ 3-1/2”, and again Bailey was in third place with 39’ 6”.

In the following event with the 22-lb. hammer, Brock showed the great form that we are used to seeing from him with a very impressive throw of 116’ 4” for the win, with Bailey in second at 109’ 5” and Gregory Bell in third at 103’ 1”.

In the 16-lb. hammer, Brock triumphed again, blasting out a winning throw of 138’ 1”, with Vierra in second at 128’ 2” and Bailey in third at 124’ 8”.

The 56-lb. weight over the bar, which was done in the standing traditional style, turned out to be very interesting, with Andrew Hobson taking the win at 15’; Bailey coming in second with 14’; and James Parman and Bell in third equal with 13’.

The final event with the caber, which was 19’ and 130 lb., was won by Vierra with Brock in second and Bailey in third.

With this winning performance from Brock and his being back on track, I foresee a very interesting IHGF World Team Championships in Antigonish, Canada and IHGF World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland for him.

Overall top three:

1.  Larry Brock

2.  Ryan Vierra

3.  Harrison Bailey III


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