Special to the IronMind® News:
2009 Arlington, Texas Highland Games
By Francis Brebner
With a packed gate of 30,000 spectators at the 2009 Arlington, Texas Highland Games, Sean Betz cleaned up this weekend in an all-dominating performance.
The jamboree of pro athletes began the competition with the 24-lb. Braemar stone, with Betz winning with a put of 43’ 2”. Second was Greg Hadley at 40’ 11”, and third Dave Barron at 39’ 11”.
In the next event, the 56-lb. weight for distance, Hadley showed great form, snatching the win with a distance of 42’ 11”, with Betz in second at 41’ 9” and Andrew Hobson in third at 40’ 10”.
The next event, the 22-lb. hammer, was dominated by Betz, who with a thick-handled shaft threw the hammer a colossal distance of 118’ 2”; in second was Hadley with 110’ 8” and in third was Dave Barron with 103’ 2”.
In the 16-lb. hammer, things really heated up. Betz threw a world-class distance of 149’ 9”, which came so close to the official world championships record of 150’ 9” held by Ryan Vierra. Betz’s throw astounded most of the athletes and the massive crowd that was watching as Betz shattered the field record of 143’ he set at last year’s Games. In second was Hadley with 135’ 5” and in third Hobson with 129’.
Going into the second day of competition, Betz kept up his front-running performances, winning the 17-lb. open stone with a distance of 52’ 3”. Barron took second place with 47’ 9”, and Hadley placed third with a below-par put of 42’.
Moving on to the 28-lb. weight for distance, once again Betz was triumphant, with a winning distance of 83’ 4”. Second was Barron at 77’ 11” and third Hadley at 76’ 4”.
The 56-lb. weight over the bar was done in the traditional style, with Betz winning at a height of 16’ 6”, and Hadley, Hobson and Barron tying at 15’ 6”.
In the final event of the competition, the 19’, 140-lb. challenge caber, Betz demonstrated some impressive technique, nailing two 12 o’clock tosses. Second was Hadley at 11:50 and third was Barron at 11:30.
Asking Betz about his weekend and the way his throwing was going so far for the World Championships in Scotland in July, Betz said he was very pleased with his throwing this weekend and “everything is going as planned. It’s not like last year with the Worlds - so early in the season where you were throwing right out of the gate.
“I am gradually improving each week and I hope to peak just right for the Worlds. In training this last week I had a good practice with hammer, which felt real good, and with the 28-lb. weight, which I was throwing over 92’, so I am well pleased with way things are going right now.
“I would just like to add what a great job the athletic director Aaron Woods and his staff of officials did. It was a real privilege to be invited back to compete at these Games once again.”
Kansas City will be the next Games for Betz this coming weekend, where he will battle it out with the best weight-for-distance throwers, assembled there for the National Weight for Distance Championships. Some big names in the sport who will be competing are Larry Brock, Eric Frazer, Andrew Hobson, Kerry Overfelt, and Mike Zolkiewicz.