Throw to the big time
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Spending hours every day training to improve his throw, sophomore Connor Roddy is hoping to make it to the top in discus and shot put, which are throwing events in track and field.
Roddy has won many titles in each of these events, including ten national titles from summer competitions and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for discus throwing his freshman year. Roddy plans to keep the title of No. 1.
“Currently, I’m ranked No. 2,” Roddy said. “The leader is a foot and seven inches ahead of me.”
Roddy has been participating in these track and field events since he was 6 years old, and his passion for it has only grown since then. His experience in throwing has given him an advantage at competitions.
He tries to improve his throwing by working out every day to stay in shape and practicing on his throws every chance he gets.
Roddy’s coach, Tim Buben, tries to help him improve in any way that he can.
“[My] plans for improving Connor’s throws include working toward more consistency of technique in the ring and slowly and constantly increasing his strength and speed through weight room and drill work,” Buben said.
While participating in this sport, Roddy has competed with the organization’s USA Track & Field (USATF) and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in a number of states. He has traveled to California and Florida to attend meets.
“[It’s] given me the opportunity to meet other gifted throwers and athletes that I wouldn’t have gotten to meet without being involved in throwing,” Roddy said.
Roddy’s older brother, Kevin Roddy, also participated in the sport and went as far to play in college for a while. The brothers have bonded over this shared passion since they were young and have formed a healthy sibling rivalry.
“A lot of times we’ll compare each other’s throws,” Connor said. “For instance, when he was a freshman in high school, he threw about 150 ft. in discus, while my best throw last year was 181 ft.”
Connor’s coach and teammates play a great part in encouraging him. Other than his parents, his friend and teammate, sophomore Andrew Riley, is his biggest supporter. Riley has sent his friend many encouraging text messages to help him do his best.
“[I try] to give a little bit of advice here and there to [help him] just focus and relax,” Riley said.
Buben says Connor’s attitude toward the sport plays a big role in his success.
“He has a tremendous work ethic and is a student of the game,” Buben said. “He is always learning and trying to innovate to make himself better.”
Connor plans to compete in shot put and discus for as long as he can.
“I think if he keeps going at this pace and continuing to work hard, one day we’ll be watching Connor at the Olympics,” Riley said.