Enjoying an elevated vantage point is how Kinsley Castro wants to complete her high school track and field career.
The award’s podium at Friday’s Girls State Finals would provide just that.
Castro, a Franklin Community High School senior, is qualified for her second consecutive Finals in the discus after finishing 19th last June at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex.
A top nine finish assures Castro a medal.
Castro recently produced a toss of 119 feet, 10 inches to win at the Franklin Sectional. Last Tuesday her best, a 127-6½, gave Castro the win by more than 10 feet over the second-place finisher at the Warren Central Regional.
It was Castro’s first regional title after taking third a year ago at Shelbyville High School.
Stronger, older and more seasoned in terms of technique and big-meet experience, she knows she must produce some of the best throws of her career to bring home a medal.
Castro is seeded eighth Friday based on her best throw at regional.
“I’m pretty consistent with the 120s. My goal is to get up to at least 136. Getting on the podium is my goal, but I would also like to get top three,” Castro said.
“I think a 136 would get me to top three, but that’s also saying (competition) isn’t going to be on their very best that day.”
Castro started in the discus and shot put as a seventh-grader. It was her first school year in Franklin after her family moved here from Texas.
“When I moved up here I really didn’t want to meet any new people, honestly. And I didn’t want to be on a team sport. I played volleyball and hated it, so I was like, ‘I might as well go out for track’,” Castro said. “I like the individuality part of it. How it’s all on you.
“If you mess up it’s your fault. And it’s very mental. But I do like the team aspect because we still support each other, but it shows how well you practice and how much you put your effort into it. And the feeling when that discus leaves your hand, it’s like no other.”
Castro finished seventh in the discus at sectional as a freshman (93-1) and sixth as a sophomore (113-3). She broke through with a win as a junior (117-10).
Grizzly Cubs coach Tim Leonard realized long ago he would never have to worry about Castro’s work ethic or character.
She recently graduated ranked No. 4 academically (of 383 seniors) with a grade-point average of 4.38. Castro will major in chemistry and minor in graphic design at Franklin College and be part of the Grizzlies women’s track and field program.
“Kinsley has really developed into a great leader. Kids follow her. She kind of sets the tone and has really been helpful with a lot of the younger throwers that we have,” Leonard said. “She’s always been fairly mature, but that confidence in her abilities has really shown through this year.”
The best way to prepare for the sheer expansiveness of the IU venue is to have already competed there.
Castro is glad she has.
“The cage is extended for discus, which most high schools don’t have. It’s a completely different experience because you have so much space,” Castro said. “But I’m glad I know what to expect. I know how many people there are, and it goes very fast.
“Hopefully it will run exactly like it did last year, but that I do better and make it to the finals.”
THE CASTRO FILE
Name: Kinsley Castro
Born: Sherman, Texas
Family: Parents, Jonathan Castro and Cameron Crocker; brother, Kyler, 26; sisters, Kailyn, 24, and Kassidy, 21
Favorite TV show: “Grey’s Anatomy”
Favorite food: Sweet potatoes
Favorite movie: “Rent”
Favorite team: Texas Rangers