Penn State’s Karlee McQuillen is having a freshman season that most athletes dream about.

McQuillen recently won the javelin competition at the NCAA East Regional Track and Field Meet at Florida State University in Tallahasse, Fla.

The Westmont Hilltop graduate had an East Regional record-setting toss of 175 feet, 10 inches, about 1 1/2 inches short of her personal best, earning a trip to this weekend’s NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, which will be televised by CBS Sports.

After fouling on her first effort at the regional meet, McQuillen left no room for doubt on her second attempt, launching a throw of 167-11 to take the overall lead in the competition.

The former Hilltopper, who remained in first place for the rest of the competition, proceeded to crank up her lead over the rest of the field, throwing 174-3 on her third attempt before marking the best throw of the day on her fourth toss.

McQuillen, who bettered Georgia’s Krista Woodward’s region record 173-5 from 2007, is just the second rookie to win the East Region javelin title.

“It feels great,” said McQuillen after her victory. “I came in No. 1 and somewhat expecting to win, but not knowing what to expect because I’ve never been here before, and never experienced this before. To come down and do well feels really great.”

Earlier this season, McQuillen established the Penn State record and the American Junior record in the javelin.

In high school, McQuillen won back-to-back PIAA titles, setting a then-state record as a junior. She also won the prestigious Penn Relays championship her senior season.

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