By doing her job, Kristin Jacobs is plotting her own demise.
Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but she is trying to help Emily Diszler bring down a Steinert record that Jacobs has owned for 23 years.
Jacobs and Doug Cooper serve as the throws coaches for the Spartans track & field team, with Jacobs overseeing the girls at actual meets. By mid-April Diszler, a senior, was 1 foot, 10 inches from breaking her coach’s record in the shot put, which is 36 feet, 4 inches set in 1996. The Diz Kid crept ever closer on opening day this spring when she threw a personal record of 34-7 in taking first against Lawrence.
“I say 23 years is plenty long enough, go ahead and break it,” Jacobs said. “It would make my year.”
What would make it even more is if Diszler did it at this year’s Mercer County Championships. Jacobs remembers breaking the record on May 11, 1996, which was the Saturday of the Mercer Meet. This year’s counties are on May 11. “How cool would that be if she could win the meet and break the record on the exact same day?” Jacobs said. “If anyone breaks it, I would love it to be her.”
The two have formed a special bond over the years, as Diszler also played basketball for Jacobs. But just to show she doesn’t play favorites, Diszler is also gunning for Mariah Greco’s discus record of 116 feet, which was set just a few years ago.
Diszler was at 109-7 by mid-April. She also throws the javelin, but only at dual meets, as that is her least favorite event.
It has been a slow and steady rise for the former softball player, whose father, Bob, was a catcher for the Steinert baseball team in the 1980’s.
Diszler was in love with softball up through middle school, but by eighth grade, she said, she didn’t love it as much anymore. Her elder sister, Sarah, had a friend who threw for the track team, and she convinced Emily to give it a shot.
There was never any doubt what events she would attempt.
“I’ve never really been a big fan of running,” she said. “I went right into throwing and I loved it.”
Her freshman season was one of learning and growing. At first, she enjoyed javelin but not discus. “But as soon as I started to improve in disc, that’s when it really clicked that it was the sport for me,” she said.
Diszler qualified for the Central Jersey Group III sectional meet in discus as a freshman and, although she did not have a great performance, she got to see some great athletes in action.
Things started to improve the next year. “My sophomore year was the first year I realized I could do good things with [discus],” she said. She didn’t place, but went to counties and sectionals again that year.
She made major strides as a junior when she took second in discus at the Mercer County meet with a PR throw of 109-7 and eighth in the shot with a 31-9.25. She also advanced to the Group III state meet for the first time as she threw a third-place mark of 107-9 in the discus at sectionals. Diszler finished 12th at states with a 105-5, but her entire season was considered an accomplishment since she had only started throwing three years earlier.
“It was a great feeling,” Diszler said. “I’ll never forget last year in counties I had my best throw, my 109. It was the best feeling. My whole family was there, everyone gave me a big hug. It was awesome.”
Although she did not advance, Diszler finished eighth in shot at the sectionals.
“I definitely grew a lot in shot put last year,” she said. “I only started throwing shot my sophomore year. Last year we had two freshmen, they were both trying to beat me. The three of us were competing the whole year. It was nice to have that competition. Without them I don’t think I would have succeeded as much.”
The freshmen were Hope Mauro and Liyah Hoagland-Allen. Unfortunately, one moved away and one was injured this season, so Diszler has been more or less on her own.
It did not seem to matter at the outset. In Steinert’s first three dual meets against Lawrence, Hopewell and Robbinsville, Diszler won all three discus events and had two firsts and a second in the shot. She also had two seconds and a third in javelin and took third in discus at The College of New Jersey meet.
“She’s definitely a lot stronger this year,” Jacobs said. “She has the technique. Track is different than any other sport because it’s so individual and personalized, it’s a mental game too. She wants break the two records, she really does. Who wouldn’t want to?”
Having worked closely with Diszler in two sports for four years, Jacobs has created a special relationship with her.
“She’s got a truly unique personality,” the coach said. “She is a lovable goofball, but when it comes down to it she will be serious and focused. But she is definitely the type of kid who will keep it light most of the time. She’s a genuine leader. She’s worked (basketball) camp for me for so long. She wants to be in the middle of things and leading these kids. Entertainment is her second passion. She’s not afraid to be in front of people.”
That will come in handy if she manages to reach another goal – going to the Meet of Champions. The crowds are large there, and Diszler feels if she breaks the school records, she has a good shot of qualifying for the state’s ultimate event.
However far she goes, it will possibly be the end of her track & field career. Diszler drew interest from Division III coaches, but is opting for either Penn State or South Carolina.
Diszler, who is a member of Peer Leadership and the Hamilton NEWS, has plans to possibly take part in club track in college. “I’ve always wanted to go to a big school so I’m trying to combine both of them, track and a big school together,” she said.
She would love nothing better than to go off to school with her name listed twice on the Steinert record board.
“It’s an ironic blessing to have someone that I’ve coached in multiple sports and that I really, truly love, going to break my record,” Jacobs said. “If anything, records are made to be broken. It’s almost become comical now because I mess with her about it.”
But only in the most positive of ways.