YORK -- Mary Hargett has been tossing blue horseshoes and connecting them with white pegs since she was 5 years old.
The York teen's pitching skills earned her a junior division world title during the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association championships held July 28 in Ardmore, Okla.
The win is a first for the 16-year-old Hargett.
"It feels pretty good," Hargett said. "I reached my goal."
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Now, Hargett has a new goal.
"I've got to defend my title," she said.
The York Comprehensive High School junior was the only South Carolinian to participate and take a title in the event's junior division. Early during the event, Hargett tossed horseshoes against 67 boys and girls, whose averages ranged from 5 percent to 75 percent.
Rick Hargett said his daughter's average was 60.86 going into the event.
Mary Hargett outtossed her competition and earned a spot to compete with the top five. A slightly nervous Hargett tossed her blue horseshoe.
"I had a good chance to win," Hargett said Friday from her York home about the five girls she competed against.
Hargett's first toss looped the white peg, she said.
While most of her tosses connected, some didn't. But she tossed well enough to claim a win. Hargett's mom, Ann, could not mask her excitement.
"I was so proud," Ann Hargett said. "She was going for a win."
An average adult throws between 25 percent and 30 percent, Rick Hargett said. By the end of the championship, Mary Hargett's average peaked to 62.5.
"It's pretty cool," Hargett said about her score that doubled those of most adult throwers. "Not many people can do it."
Hargett walked away from the competition with a trophy nearly half her height and a $600 college scholarship. But the girl who prefers pitching blue horseshoes to watching TV and playing PlayStation can't take time to dwell on the win.
The freckle-faced teen competed Saturday in the 12th annual SummerFun Horseshoe Tournament in Newberry. The competition continues today. Hargett will vie for a win against 10 women, including one whose average tops 80 percent. The chances of taking a win against an adult world champion from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association championships are not good, Hargett said.
"Slim to none," she said. "The number one in my class is the woman world champion, and I want to beat her. I'm going to try my best."