Highlander Andrey Levkiv among nation’s top shot putters

April 30, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Hazen High School senior Andrey Levkiv has the top shot put and discus toss distances in the state. At the April 18 Pasco Invitational, Levkiv threw the shot put 62 feet, 2 inches, a personal best by more than 17 inches.

He earned Outstanding Male Athlete honors at the event. 

Shortly after he took the lead in the discus, with a throw of 161 feet, 5 inches, he suffered a seizure waiting his next turn. Paramedics treated Levkiv, who recovered after several minutes and was prepared to take his next throw, only to be sent to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution.

Andrey Levkiv prepares to heave the shot put at the Liberty High School Invitational meet last year.

Andrey Levkiv prepares to heave the shot put at the Liberty High School Invitational meet last year.

Levkiv was in school the following week and has been awaiting word from a doctor to see whether he could return to participating on the track team, said Randy Matheson, district spokesman.

Levkiv has the fifth-best distance in the nation in the shot put. He is the returning 3A runner up in the shot put; he tossed the shot put 56 feet, 9 inches at the state meet. Bellevue High School’s David Decastro won with a toss of 58 feet, 9 and three-fourths inches.

In Levkiv’s sophomore year, he came in third at state with a throw of 52 feet, 8 inches.

When he was 7, Levkiv and his family moved here from Lviv, Ukraine, a city of nearly 1 million on the border near Poland. His deep bass voice has a hint of an accent and he still speaks Ukrainian at home with his parents.

At McKnight Middle School, he turned out for the track and field team wanting to be a hurdler and sprinter. But the team needed a shot putter, and at 6 feet tall and 190 pounds as a seventh-grader, he discovered he loved the shot put. He won every middle-school meet.

At Hazen, he played basketball his first two years. Last year, he took up swimming and competed in the 100 freestyle. Levkiv said swimming has improved his conditioning for track season.

Shannon Rance, who won Class 3A state girls titles in the shot put and discus as a senior at Renton High School in 2000, is Hazen’s throwing coach. She said she’s impressed by Levkiv’s potential, considering his lack of technique.

Under Rance’s guidance, Levkiv threw 47-8 his freshman year, but failed to qualify for the state meet. The following year, he cracked 50 feet at the Arne Young Invitational at Renton Stadium. He finished a disappointing fifth at district, but that was good enough to earn a trip to Pasco for state last year.

On his first try at state, he uncorked a throw of 52-8, his personal best by nearly 3 feet. He finished an inch and a half short of the state title, taking third place. While Levkiv also competes in discus, he lists the shot put as his favorite. 

“I love the feeling when I throw,” Levkiv said. “It feels like I can do anything. It relaxes me.”

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