Scarvelis part of an elite field at Junior Nationals

Stamatia Scarvelis - Pan American Junior Games

Stamatia Scarvelis will defend her national title against some tough competition.

Stamatia Scarvelis clearly was the best high school girls shot putter and discus thrower in the state. She capped her senior year at Dos Pueblos by winning CIF State Meet titles in both events, with the shot put gold medal being her third in a row.

She was rarely pushed in a meet this season.

Scarvelis steps up in competition this weekend at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor National Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. She’ll be competing against the best throwers in the country under 20 years old for a national title and a spot on the U.S. team for the IAAF Junior World Championships, which also are being held in Oregon later this month.

Scarvelis’ state-best shot put mark of 53-9.25 ranks fourth among the entries at nationals and her 172-7 discus is also fourth best behind three collegiate throwers.

The thought of facing good competition has the new UCLA Bruin pumped up.

“I’m looking forward to nationals,” she said recently. “I think it will drive me a lot more.”

Scarvelis, the defending national champion in the shot put, will be challenged by this season’s national prep leader, Raven Saunders, of South Carolina. She threw the top mark of 56-8.25 in April and has throws of 56-7.50 and 55-8.25. The Southern Illinois recruit was named the Gatorade girls track athlete of the year.

Other challengers include Colorado State freshman Aaliyah Pete, who has a best mark of 54-8.75, and Nevada prep Ashlie Blake, who threw 53-10.75 at an indoor meet.

“There’s definitely going to be some PR’s,” said Scarvelis.

The shot put competition is on Saturday.

In Sunday’s discus, the top three qualifiers are Valerie Allman of Stanford (187-7), Arroyo Grande’s Madison Jacobs of Kentucky (175-7) and Colorado State’s Pete (176-5).