HOUSTON, Texas — Jenny (Weyman) Gilmore had many impressive efforts while competing in the shot put for Seneca Valley.
One throw in particular has stood the test of time.
In an April 1984 meet at Butler, Gilmore, then a senior, broke the school record in the event with a first-place heave of 41 feet. Thirty-five years later, it is still the school standard.
“That record has stood for a long time and it's going to be hard to break it,” Gilmore said. “That throw was ranked in the top 10 all-time in Pennsylvania for a time. If someone does break it, you know they're a great athlete.”
Later that spring, Gilmore closed her high school career by placing fifth in the state at the PIAA championship meet at Shippensburg University. She will be inducted into the SV Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2019 in September.
It took little time for Gilmore to realize that the shot put was her best event. SV assistant Bob Harsh worked with her in 1981 while Walt Sieminski took over beginning in her sophomore year.
“It was easy for me to pick up on the technique as a freshman and I did well immediately,” said the Zelienople native. “I consistently placed in the top three at meets.
“Patty Griest was a senior when I was a freshman. She broke the school record that year and I set a goal of breaking it by the time I graduated.”
When her senior campaign rolled around, getting her name atop SV's record book was just one source of motivation for Gilmore. The year before, she qualified for the state meet and placed tenth.
“My goal that year was just to get there and I was pretty excited and overwhelmed,” she said, “but as a senior, I wanted to get on the podium.”
The meet against Butler her senior year provided Gilmore with a stiff challenge.
“They had a girl, Karen Stutz, who had broken Butler's record in the shot put (with a 38-11½) just prior to our meet. Butler was always a huge rival for us and I was motivated to beat her,” she said. “Both of my grandmas were able to be there and that didn't happen often.”
Gilmore bettered Griest's previous record by one foot, 4½ inches. She was pleased to reach her goal of medaling at states that May, but feels she could have done better than the 38-7¼ she managed.
“I was a little disappointed,” she said. “I had a really bad cold that week and wasn't on top of my game physically.”
After graduating high school, Gilmore went to West Virginia University, where she placed in the top three in the shot put in every meet her freshman year.
“I was studying to be a dental hygienist and the workload was pretty demanding, so I competed only as a freshman,” she said, adding, “I'm thrilled to be going into the hall of fame. My immediate family (parents Clair and Marilyn and brother Dale) have always been very supportive.”
Gilmore, a mother of four, has lived in Houston for 11 years.