Jennifer Timm, left, of De Pere and Maya Jacques of Suamico, pictured during a recent workout at St. Norbert College’s Donald J. Schneider Stadium, both qualified in softball throw for the Hershey’s Track & Field Games North American finals in Hershey, Pa., this weekend. / Todd McMahon/The De Pere Journal
One of the rewards for the children who qualify to participate in the Hershey's Track & Field Games each summer in Hershey, Pa., is visiting the Hershey Company chocolate plant and sampling some of the famed confectionery's treats.
What would be sweeter for Jennifer Timm, who is in the 34th annual meet for the second and final time, is satisfying the hunger she has to win a title in the chocolate capital of the world.
The 14-year-old from De Pere enters the North American finals as a three-time state champion in softball throw.
Two years after placing fourth in the girls 11-12 age group in her inaugural trip to the Hershey's finals, the strong-armed Timm is optimistic about contending for the championship in the girls 13-14 division.
This year, I want to go and enjoy the experience, Timm said. I would've finished third last year, and the top five people (from the 13-14 finals) are gone.
Timm was Wisconsin's top thrower in her age bracket for the second straight year in 2010. However, she was relegated to alternate status for the athletes from Wisconsin who qualified and didn't have a spot in the North American finals.
The 5-foot-7 Timm assured herself of an all-expenses-paid return trip to Hershey this week by launching the softball 182 feet, 1 inch to win the girls 13-14 title at the Wisconsin meet June 25 in Wauwatosa.
Last year, I came off an injury. Now, I'm throwing a lot farther, said Timm, who maxed out with throws in the 150s the previous two years.
Timm managed to compete in the Hershey's local and state qualifiers last summer after she sustained a fractured knee playing softball for the Fox River Rush youth program.
She has been healthy this summer and showcasing her rocket-esque right arm as the shortstop for the Rush's U14 travel team.
You can throw people out from the outfield at home, Timm said. We won a game because I threw someone out.
Timm has left most of her training for the Hershey's meets in which she has competed to the throws she makes in the multitude of softball games she's played this summer. Timm also played for West De Pere High School's summer team — she is an incoming freshman.
Timm, along with her family, was to arrive in Hershey today for the opening ceremony of the Hershey's Track & Field Games. Workouts for the 500-plus athletes with their regional teams will be Friday, when they also will tour the chocolate plant and other attractions in Hershey.
The competition in running, jumping and throwing events for participants ages 9 to 14 will be Saturday at Milton Hershey School.
Timm reckons she will have to throw the softball from one end of the school's football field at least 185 feet, possibly in the 190s to win the title.
I think I have a good chance, she said, adding there's nothing elaborate about her throwing style. I grip the ball really tight and just throw it as hard as I can.
Timm is one of two Green Bay-area girls who qualified for the North American finals in softball throw.
Maya Jacques, 10, of Suamico won the state title in the 9-10 age group with a distance of 116 feet, 9 inches.