Donna Mayhew has become a veteran of athletic hall of fame ceremonies.
She's attended her share of them and has been inducted into the Glendale Community College and University of Arizona athletic hall of fames. Her acceptance speeches have been different, as she often scribbles down some notes on a piece of paper expressing her thoughts on what's translated into a stellar career, capped by two appearances in the Summer Olympics.
Mayhew, a former world-class javelin thrower, will likely jot down some more notes when she is enshrined into the Crescenta Valley High Athletic Hall of Fame at 7 p.m. Saturday at Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland.
Mayhew, who excelled in the shot put and discus at Crescenta Valley before launching a respectable career in the javelin on the collegiate, national and international levels, will be inducted along with Gary Beck, John Mirch, Michele Lee Hampton, Gene Sutherland, Bob Herrold, Greg Vasquez and the 1973 football team that captured a CIF Southern Section championship.
"I never kept any of my previous acceptance speeches, so I'll just shoot from the hip," said Mayhew, a La Crescenta resident who participated in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. "I've been trying to remember a lot of the good things that I was able to get done at CV.
"There aren't too many high school athletic hall of fames around. It's mostly college, so I was surprised when they told me I would be going in. This is quite an honor for me."
Honors are nothing new to Mayhew, who developed her track and field skills at Crescenta Valley before graduating in 1978. The idea of possibly competing in the Olympics 10 years later might have been the farthest thing from her mind. In fact, she was barely familiar with what a javelin was, or even the purpose of the event.
Mayhew mainly threw the discus at Crescenta Valley, setting a then-school record of 117 feet 5 inches at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in 1978. However, something piqued her interest with respect to the javelin, an event that most high schools don't participate in.
"CV got me into sports and I had a lot of fun times," said the 5-foot-3 Mayhew, who won a Pacific League championship in the discus in 1978. "I did well in the discus and shot put and the coaches worked with me throughout the years, something I really appreciated.
"I started to throw the javelin on the side at school at Crescenta Valley Park with assistant coach Edith Mendyka, and she taught me so much about all the things needed to be successful with it. It was something I just wanted to keep working at and just go from there."
Keith Gilliland, who coached Crescenta Valley's track and field program from 1965-98, said Mayhew provided the Falcons with a steady presence in the shot and discus rings.
"She worked very hard at CV," Gilliland said. "For her size, she was extremely dynamic.
"No way on this earth did I think she would someday be taking part in the Olympics. She didn't have the size, but she sure did have plenty of heart."
Mayhew spent a great deal of time perfecting throwing the javelin, similar, she said, to tossing a football. She worked on building her arm and lower body strength, in addition to her speed.
Things just came together when she enrolled at Glendale college, where she became a force in the Western State Conference. Mayhew worked with various Vaqueros coaches, including Coach John Tansley and Dianne Spangler. Tansley was an All-American in the event in 1958 at Long Beach State and coached cross-country and track and field at Glendale college from 1967-81.
Just like that, Mayhew had the ideal tutor who could possibly take her to new heights.
"I was really excited that they were going to work with me," Mayhew, 50, said. "They showed me how to succeed and I got a lot of great training from them."
She won Western State Conference championships in 1979 and 1980 in the javelin. She then had a then-state record throw of 167-6 to win the state championship in Bakersfield in 1980.
"When you think of the javelin, you think of somebody who is 6-5 with large arms," Tansley said in a phone interview from his home in Sun City, Ariz. "Here's Donna at 5-2 with shorter arms than most and I just couldn't see the talent.
"She developed a cannon arm and we worked on technique with things like arm stride, leg strength and hip movement. I continued to be amazed that she could pick up these things just like that."