Author: Soo Jin Kim
Kelly Young (senior) broke the school record for the hammer throw during the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational earlier this month. It was previously held by Monica Sullivan-Reyes, who set the record at 166’6″ in 1997. Young set the new record at 174’9″ and broke her personal best of 169’1.”
In addition to throwing the hammer, Young competes in the javelin, shot put and discus. As a testament to her versatility, she also broke the school’s javelin record last year.
Although she broke a school record and is now the current leader for women hammer throwers in SCIAC, her earlier performances weren’t quite at this level.
“For the majority of my season, I was flirting with the 160′ line,” Young said. “It wasn’t until I finally managed to get over the 160′ line at the Redlands meet that I started to realize that I could really do something with the hammer.”
Young started throwing the hammer as a first-year at the College of Jan Mateo. She transferred to Occidental as a junior and joined the track and field team immediately, but it was not until this year that she saw herself as a hammer thrower.
Currently she trains with her team, balancing both lifting and practice during this time. On most days she undergoes two practices and lifts three to four times a week.
With such an intense training schedule, Young has to be deliberate about the way she allocates her time between sports and academics. “It’s a delicate balance,” she said.
Such balance is possible because her practice schedule is flexible. Training also reflects the needs of the athletes as the season progresses. When coach Bartlett decides that the team needs to improve in a particular area during meets, he centers practices on the skill that needs attention. Also, before big meets, Bartlett makes practice less intense in order to not tire out the athletes.
“Lately, our lifts have been light so we can focus on being more explosive and quick. This also means that we are not dead from lifting on the day of the meet,” Young said.
Her record-breaking performance has earned Young an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships. “It feels good. It’s what I have been working [for] all year,” Young said.
Although she holds the record for SCIAC, she has not yet broken the Division III record. “There is another thrower from the Midwest or East coast that is currently ahead of me, but I plan to give her a run for her money at Nationals,” she said.
In order to trump the competition, Young will begin training this summer. “It will be awesome to be able to just train for Nationals. Plus, this year will be better since there is a very good chance that a couple of other athletes will make it to Nationals as well,” she said.
Last year, Young placed third in the javelin, but she is anticipating better results this time. “I’m hoping this year will be more successful since I will know what to expect and how to compete,” she said.
Her current goals are to win all four throwing events (shot put, discus, javelin and hammer) at SCIAC, something which has not yet been accomplished by anyone, and to become an All-American at Nationals.
After graduating from Occidental, she hopes to continue throwing. “I will continue to throw because I love the sport and cannot imagine my life without it. Who knows what the future holds,” Young said.
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