Westerly's Megan Albamonti had reasonable expectations for the first track and field meet of her collegiate career on Saturday.
Albamonti, a sophomore in the classroom but a freshman javelin thrower for the University of Delaware, just wanted to get back into the swing of things at the University of Virginia Opener in Charlottesville, Va.
Albamonti didn't compete her freshman year — outdoor track and field was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Honestly, my expectations were not that high. I just wanted to throw better than I did in high school, cut myself some slack, and just go out there and have a decent day," she said.
But Albamonti, an All-State athlete in track, volleyball, basketball and softball during her time at Westerly, excelled.
On her first throw, she went 142-10, exceeding her best high school throw of 139-10. Her second throw was even better, 145-4.
"I was pretty nervous before competing. But after the second [throw], I honestly felt a little better. It took a little of the pressure off," Albamonti said. "The next couple of throws I wanted to hit that next-to-last crossover a little harder."
Albamonti must have done something right. Her third throw sailed 148-5 to break the Delaware school record by almost 2 feet. Jillian Seamon had set the previous record of 146-11 in 2010.
Albamonti's next throw went 147-2, which also bettered Seamon's mark. All six of her throws exceeded 141 feet.
Albamonti's throw of 148-5 stood as her best of the day and it was good enough to finish first in the event.
"That one felt like the best of the first three I had," she said. "I wondered how far it went. In high school, they pull a tape to measure the throws, but in college they use lasers. I just stood there until [the distance] came up. My coach was like, 'There is your school record.'"
Albamonti's throws in practice are not measured. Instead, the focus is on the technical aspects of the event.
Albamonti works with a throws coach, and a jumps coach helps her become more explosive. Her weight training is specific to her event.
"I think I'm faster on my feet, more explosive than high school," she said. "My approach and my crossover are all better. [The coaches] know I've been training hard. They know I don't like to take time off. They just told me to go out there and do what you know how to do."
The last time the Colonial Athletic Association, in which Delaware competes, had a championship meet, in 2019, the winning javelin throw was 143-1.
But Albamonti's focus remains on her event, not any future success.
"I definitely want to really fine-tune my mechanics," Albamonti said. "I'm just trying to improve myself and not worry about the competition. I focus on the things I can control. I'm hoping to throw farther. I think my coach and I think it's definitely possible. I'm just excited to see what I can do."
Albamonti has been working for Saturday's performance since June 2019, when she graduated from Westerly High. It's been a grind, she said.
But Albamonti, who made the dean's list for the first semester, was just glad to return to competition. Teammate Fiona Letko, a freshman from Annandale, N.J., was second in the event (130-1) at the Virginia Opener. The two train together and help each other improve, Albamonti said.
"It feels so good. I've missed it for a year and half. It's not the normal, but it's close. It gives me a sense of family. I've been missing it for so long," she said. "I'm very excited for the upcoming meets."