Close Battle for Garrett Blatnik, Jared Conklin and World Record for Jessica Bridenthal

Garrett Blatnik on his way to winning the Men’s A class at the 2019 Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival Highland Games, where he edged out Jared Conklin on countback. IronMind® | IHGF photo Garrett Blatnik on his way to winning the Men’s A class at the 2019 Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival Highland Games, where he edged out Jared Conklin on countback. IronMind® | IHGF photo

Garrett Blatnik and Jared Conklin took things down to the wire in the men’s A class at the Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival Highland Games, and Jessica Bridenthal set a new world record as part of her overall victory in the women’s class.

2019 Dublin Irish Festival Hosts Eighth Leg of IHGF Highland Games Series
by Francis Brebner
President, International Highland Games Federation (IHGF)
The Dublin Irish Festival is the largest of its kind in the world and still growing, celebrating its 35th year in 2019 with more than 100,000 spectators over the three days of Celtic festivities in Coffman Park, Dublin, Ohio.
Athletic director Robert McKeeman, along with Rich McClain, Josh Beatty, and their crew did an exceptional job of running the events and making the eighth leg of the IHGF All-American Highland Games qualifying series for both the men’s and woman’s A groups a huge success, with everything running like clockwork.

Men’s A group

The lineup in the A group included Michael Pfeiffer, Eric Spence, Kendall Thomas, Eli Kiener, Brad Sauer, Nik Aston, Jared Conklin, and Garrett Blatnik.
Conklin claimed the first win with the 22-lb. Braemar stone with a putt of 39’ 3”, followed very closely by Kiener at 38’ 11”, with Thomas third at 38’ 8-1/2”.
Conklin dominated in the 16-lb. open stone with a putt of 49’ 7” for his second victory. Second place was close, with Sauer at 49’ 1/2” nudging out both Thomas and Blatnik, who tied at 48’ 1”.

The 56-lb. weight for distance was all-out between Blatnik and Thomas, with Blatnik claiming the win with class throw of 41’ 1-1/2” over Thomas’s second-place 39’ 3-1/2”. Conklin was third at 35’ 5”.
Blatnik kept up the pace in the 28-lb. weight for distance with a series of throws around 80’ with a best of 82’ 7-3/4” for another win. Second place was a seesaw battle, with Conklin marginally going ahead at 76’ 10”, leaving Sauer in third at 75’ 1-1/2”.

Conklin owned the 22-lb hammer, the only athlete throwing over 100’ with an impressive winning throw of 106’ 2-1/2”. Blatnik and Thomas slugged it out for second, with Blatnik pulling ahead at 96’ 2”, leaving Thomas in third at 95’.

Conklin notched another victory in the 16-lb. hammer with a nice throw of 124’ 1”.  Second place could not have been much closer, with Blatnik doing 113’ 4-1/2” to Thomas’s 113’ 3”.

The caber, 18’ 8” in length and 115 lb., was won by Blatnik who tossed a perfect 12:00, followed by Kiener with 12:45 and Conklin with 2:00.

In the 56-lb. weight over bar, Blatnik and Aston put on a great show, thrilling the crowds, with Blatnik clearing an incredible 17’ for the win. Aston did 16’ and Conklin was third at 15’.

The 20-lb. sheaf was won by Blatnik, who cleared 30’ for the win. Second was a tie at 27’ between Pfeiffer, Spence, Thomas, Sauer, Aston, and Conklin.

Overall places:
1. Garrett Blatnik 17

2. Jared Conklin 17
3. Kendall Thomas 31
4. Brad Sauer 41
5. Eli Kiener 41
6. Nik Aston 51
7. Eric Spence 53
8. Michael Pfeiffer 60
Blatnik will join Thomas, Chad Thompson, John Van Beuren, Sean Burns, Eli Kiener, John Anthony, and Skylar Arneson at the finals of the IHGF All-American Highland Games Championships at the 2019 Great Plains Renaissance and Scottish Festival, in Wichita, Kansas, in September.
Women’s A group

The woman’s A group included top-notch athletes Adriane Wilson, Jessica Bridenthal, Emily Adams, Janine Kuestner, Sarah Bliven, Taylor Kroll, Heather McKenzie, and Mandi Vorhees.

The 16-lb. Braemar stone was a tough competition between Bridenthal and Wilson, with Bridenthal taking the first win with a massive putt of 32’ 5” to Wilson’s 31’ 4-1/2”. Kuestner was third at 29’ 3-3/4”.

The tables were turned in the 9-lb. open stone as Wilson produced a shower of class putts all over 40’ with a best of 44’ 9” for the win over Bridenthal’s second place 40’ 9” and Kuestner’s third-place 39’ 1/2”.

The 28-lb. weight for distance was epic as Wilson let fly with a colossal series of throws, doing 47’ 10” for the win. Bridenthal was second at 43’ 1/2” and Adams third at 41’ 7-1/2”.

Wilson kept up her top-level performance in the 14-lb. weight for distance with an incredible series of throws and a best of 80’ 2” for her third straight victory. Adams was second at 76’ 4-1/2” and Bridenthal third at 75’ 9-1/2”.

Bridenthal dominated in the hammers and took back-to-back victories, blasting out 101’ 1” in the 12-lb. hammer, followed by a nice throw of 93’ 7” by Adams for second; Wilson landed in third at 87’ 11-1/2”.

In the 16-lb. hammer, Bridenthal produced a splendid throw of 83’ 1/2”, and again Adams was second at 74’ 10” and Wilson third at 72’ 7”.

The 28-lb. weight over bar was fantastic as Bridenthal, Adams, Rhodes, and Kuestner all tied at 16’. Wilson and Kroll did 15’.
In the 10-lb. sheaf over bar, Bridenthal thrilled the crowds with a world-record breaking performance at a height of 35’ 6”. Adams did 32’, and third was a three-way tie at 26’ between Kuestner, Wilson and Kroll.
Wilson made easy work of the 16’ 8” and 77-lb. caber, slamming it over every time with a best of 12:15 for the win. Bridenthal was second with an 11:00 toss and Adams third with a best of 80 degrees. 

Overall places:
1. Jessica Bridenthal 14

2. Adriane Wilson 22
3. Emily Adams 25
4. Janine Kuestner 36
5. Taylor Kroll 43
6. Mandi Vorhees 57
7. Sarah Bliven 59
8. Heather McKenzie 70

Jessica Bridenthal broke the world record for the 10-lb. sheaf over bar, as part of her overall victory in the women’s class. IronMind® | IHGF photo

Bridenthal joins Kristin Rhodes, Meagan McKee, Felicia Baker Baltren, Ashley Weber, Emalie Humphreys, Elissa Hapner, and Jamie Channel at the finals of the IHGF All-American Highland Games Championships at the 2019 Great Plains Renaissance and Scottish Festival, in Wichita, Kansas, in September.


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