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Riner takes NCAA championship

July 7, 2022

By: Katherine Trowbridge

The Franklin County Graphic caught up with 2017 CHS alumni, Ashton Riner (daughter of Wayne and Janae Riner) to talk about her accomplishments. Riner, who was active in soccer, basketball along with track ‘n field in high school, moved on to college with a track scholarship. In high school she took the WIAA State Championship for javelin and came in third All Team. She also took a personal record for javelin in her senior year and broke the record for the 1A state track ‘n field for the farthest throw. Riner told us that she was more into soccer and basketball which were her favorites, but it was her dad who told her “you are really good at this”. Moving into college she went from a three-sport athlete to focusing only on javelin. It has paid off. Riner said, “When you put all your time into one thing you can really excel at it.”

She has truly excelled, qualifying for the NCAA division championship and starting her freshman year with a first place in javelin (157’ 11”) in 2018. In her sophomore year she broke the BYU record. “So that was awesome,” she shared with the FCG, “then I did it again this year. So, I did it twice now, not just twice this year.” In 2019 she injured her elbow and underwent surgery but kept her focus. She came back and in 2021, (following the pandemic year) made a personal best mark (188’). She also narrowly missed making the Olympic Team. In 2022, she beat the BYU school record (190- 0.5) again, and held the number one title in the nation throughout the season. In late April, she broke her own school record at (198’). In June, she took the NCAA National Title at (191’ 1”).

Riner shared, “This was the first javelin national title for BYU. There was a lot of pressure to perform well. A lot of targets after me.” She stayed focused and did her best and truly made her mark. “I’m super proud of her,” said BYU throws coach Nik Arrhenius. “The pressure was on her. She came in as No. 1 and everyone was hunting her. She handled the pressure. She came full circle.”

Riner, the wife of BYU football tight end Lane Lunt, ultimately won by a margin of nearly two feet; becoming BYU’s first athlete across both men and women’s track programs to win an individual national title since 2007. “Ashton demonstrated why she was the number one-ranked javelin thrower in the nation,” BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone said. “She took the lead in dominant fashion on her very first throw and was never challenged. I’m so happy for her and Coach Arrhenius, who with his three javelin entries has become one of the top javelin coaches in the country.”

Riner still enjoys playing basketball and soccer but it’s more of a hobby now. She recently graduated from BYU with a degree in Communication Disorders where she hopes to use her education to help students through speech therapy. While she is graduated, she told the FCG that she has one more year of eligibility and looks forward to one more season on the field. She may have another chance to go to another meet in August to compete for the US team. To future student athletes Riner says “If you put your mind to something, don’t stop, even if it gets hard, because the hard things in life don’t come easy.”

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