Before the school year, a shot put thrower in Kansas was told by a doctor not to continue with her sport at the risk of potentially needing to have hand surgery.
“It devastated me,” Augusta (Kan.) junior Abbee Rhodes told the Wichita Eagle late last week. “I was in tears afterward. But I decided I wasn’t going to quit. If I have to have a surgery, then so be it. But I don’t want to quit.”
Last Friday, as the Eagle reported, Rhodes’ decision to continue throwing paid off in the biggest way. At the Kansas state track and field meet at Wichita’s Cessna Stadium, Rhodes threw the shot put a personal-best 42 feet, 6.75 inches to win the Class 4A championship. Per the Eagle, it was the state’s second-best mark this season.
While the doctor was concerned that the shot put would aggravate Rhodes’ previous hand injury, according to the Eagle, she altered her release point and believes she kept her long-term health in mind while winning the state title.
Rhodes entered the meet as the favorite with the top mark in the field and established herself with her second throw of the day, a 41-7.5 toss. The personal-record throw came on her second throw in the finals as Rhodes, a three-time state medalist, cleared 42 feet for the first time.
“She’s one of the most driven athletes I’ve ever coached,” Augusta throws coach Steve Pazzie told the Eagle. “She’s diligent when it comes to the weight room and to practice. She doesn’t skip reps. She’s everything you would want in an athlete and in a child of your own. She’s the whole package.”
The Eagles reports that Rhodes also threw the discus competitively for the first time this season and finished fourth in 4A with a personal-record throw of 122-11.
“I’m really excited,” Rhodes told the Eagle. “I’ve been working hard for this ever since I was a freshman. This was just the culmination of everything.”