Friday, April 15, 2011
Villanova Signs New Jersey Standout Jaime Klein
Javelin falls into place for Paramus Catholic standout Jaime Klein
Friday, April 15, 2011
BY RONALD P. CLARK
In 3 1/2 years, Paramus Catholic senior Jaime Klein has earned 11 varsity letters in three different sports. This spring, she'll secure her 12th.
Jaime Klein of Paramus Catholic will earn her 12th varsity letter following track season. "It's almost unreal, to be honest," said Klein.
It's easy to get caught up in the depth of her accomplishments. Paladins track coach and athletic director Scott Langan can't remember if another athlete has come through the tradition-rich Paladins program and done the same.
And it wasn't even intentional.
"When I came in as a freshman," said Klein, "I was like, 'Oh, I'll play soccer.' Then I got a varsity letter for that. Then I ran into [Paladins basketball coach Al Roth] and I was like, 'Oh, I like playing basketball, too, let me do that.' It just kind of worked its way around. I never expected to accomplish so much throughout high school."
Klein's versatility lets her do everything big. At first, she couldn't decide if she wanted to play Division III soccer or compete in Division I track. She chose the latter, signing with Villanova on Wednesday.
It was her first choice — and another choice Klein made that turned out for the best.
With pole vault being Klein's first love in track, Langan couldn't have one of his top performers scoring in just one event. So Klein picked up the javelin and threw it — really far.
"It's kind of cool," said Klein, whose personal best of 142 feet, 4 inches is fifth-best in Bergen County history. "It's like a spear. I honestly just picked it up one day and was like, 'Hey, let me just chuck this stick.' "
Klein is energetic. She bounces from a girl who "chucks sticks" and delivers victory dances to a student-athlete serious about her craft and getting better.
Even though she started off just wanting to toss the javelin around a bit because it looked cool, she eventually came to the realization of what it entailed.
"It's deceiving," said Klein, her smile taking a breather. "You look at it and people try to throw it like a baseball and it's so much more than that. It's mastering the same routine. That's what it's all about. And if you can master that, then you're going to be good at it."
Klein is good at it — really good. Good enough to be invited to the Penn Relays. Good enough to be the defending Non-Public A champion. And good enough to place third as a sophomore to help Paramus Catholic win its first State title.
"She just loves throwing," Langan said. "You can see it when she's warming up and when she's on the runway. And the way she's working with our two other first-year throwers. She's a definite leader out there."
Yet for all Klein has meant to the program, she still has managed to fly somewhat under the radar. With teammates like former Paladins two-sport star Rae Corbo and current all-everything junior sprinter Myasia Jacobs, Klein has just went about her business.
"It was special knowing that I was able to help them out," Klein said. "The thing is, normally I don't get recognition and I'm not used to it. So to work for it, knowing at the end you can get it…I'm also happy for them and knowing that you're a part of something bigger than yourself."
Now, she's the senior leader on a team that lost Langan's deepest and most talented class. The spot is there for Klein to fill.
And she'll have 12 varsity letters to fill it with.