Golden Valley High thrower Shyann Franklin is one of the best underclassmen in the country when it comes to shot put, and she’s almost as good when it comes to discus, too.
But Franklin, true to her lighthearted sense of humor, has been pestering Grizzlies coach Lonnie Davis to run in the 100-meter dash.
“Every day, she’s always trying to ask me to put her in the 100,” Davis says. “So I always say I’m saving that event for her and I always give her a tag and a number and I say, ‘I’m about to put you in, get your spikes.’ And she says ‘All right coach, I’m ready.’ One day I might throw her in there.
“She says she’s fast. I’m like, ‘Well, when you’re talking’.”
Even though she jokes about competing in running events, Franklin knows that her place is in the throwing circle.
Last year as a freshman, she was the only Santa Clarita Valley athlete to advance to the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet in two events: shot and discus.
She was part of a Grizzlies girls track team that won its third Foothill League title in four years. At the league finals, her 44 feet, 1 inch result in the shot put was the best of any freshman in the country.
“It’s nice to get my name out there and get looked at early, but it’s hard because I have to try to break my record now,” Franklin says. “So it’s like, an adjustment and finding what works for me.”
That result was her personal record, and she’s yet to surpass it this season with a current best of 43-6. Her goal at the moment is 45 feet.
“She just wants to PR every week,” Davis says. “As along as she PR’s every week and sees herself getting better and stronger, she’s satisfied.”
Enter Diontre Harris, a 2013 GV grad who officially joined Grizzlies track and field as a throws coach this year.
Harris knew Franklin’s reputation for years prior and was excited to finally get the chance to work with her.
“I just felt like there was more there,” he says. “For her to be putting up those numbers so early on, it wasn’t a whole thing of her being a finished product … she still had a lot left in the tank. So my first impression was let me see if I can unlock everything else that is left in there because she has all these years to develop.”
Franklin is also on the girls basketball team at Golden Valley, so she was unable to train in her primary sport’s offseason.
After hoops, however, Harris began to work with Franklin on flexibility. The thrower has knee pain, so even basic stretches like touching her toes helped make sure she’s loose and at her physical best.
There’s less time spent in the weight room and more time spent on technique.
“A lot of it is footwork and taking your time with everything,” Franklin says. “With discus, it’s more of a two-year sport, so my first year, I was still figuring out how to do it and now it’s coming easier to me. But I have to change a lot to improve. It’s challenging for myself but at the end of the day, I see it’s going to be better.”
She excels in both shot and discus, but Franklin prefers the former, which she has been doing for at least six years, by her own estimate.
She thinks discus is more fun, though, because there is less tension. Her PR last season for the event was 132-2, and this year is 125-8.5.
The biggest commonality between the two, according to Franklin, is patience.
“It takes a lot of patience to get better and better,” she says. “You have to give that extra and that more.
“Sometimes I don’t have time to make it all fit and go together. So it’s like, I set this goal for myself and if I don’t reach it, it’s disappointing because I gave it my all, but that just means I have to try another way … to get farther and farther out there.”
Because after all, throwing isn’t a sprint.