3rd times a charm

Qualifying for regionals is a goal for most athletes, but it doesn’t happen for everyone.

However for senior Amanda VanDyke, regionals has become merely a routine pit stop
throughout her high school career. VanDyke has won five district championships,
four regional championships and three state titles.

“I never thought I would end up having this much success,” VanDyke said. “At first
I was doing it for fun during the summer because at that time I thought I’d be
going to school for basketball.”

VanDyke says she may have never discovered her talent for track if it wasn’t for her brother.

“When my brother started track, I went with him to practices. I was never really fast
and I thought track was all about running,” VanDyke said. “So when a coach came
up to me and said ‘Hey, you look like you can throw a shot’ that’s when I

Throwing an eight and a half pound ball was more enticing to VanDyke than running laps.
More than six years later, VanDyke has been to regionals every year and the
state meet three years in a row.

As a freshman, VanDyke began her tradition of advancing to regionals every year.
She took second in the shot put at district and finished fourth at regionals,
just shy of advancing to state.

“My first meet was really nerve-racking, because all the girls were bigger and more
experienced than me,” VanDyke said. “In the past, shot put has come naturally
to me, but high school was a way bigger competition.”

A year later, VanDyke was back at the regional meet for shot put. A girl in her
division beat the sophomore by three feet, knocking her to second place. But a
few weeks later at state, VanDyke struck gold, beating the same girl she lost
to at regionals.

VanDyke went onto win the shot put again her junior year and took third in the discus
at state. In VanDyke’s last appearance at the state meet, she won the shot put
for the third year in a row and came in second in discus.

“I’d be lying if I said I was satisfied with what happened at the state meet,”
VanDyke said. “But I got a win and a win is a win.”

The three-time shot put champion will compete in track next year at The University
of Texas.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to get my education but I know it’s going to be very
difficult,” VanDyke said. “I’m going to be at the bottom again, working my way
to the top and improving.”

Though she will miss the track team when she graduates, VanDyke says she is excited for the obstacles college will

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and
taking my skill to higher level because I want to eventually become an
All-American in track and field,” VanDyke said.

Looking forward to the future, the only other girl to make the state meet was VanDyke’s
protégé, sophomore Brittany Roberts, who placed seventh in shot put.

“I was disappointed because I didn’t throw as well as I could have,” Roberts said.
“But I feel fortunate to have made it to the state meet since I was a
sophomore. I take it as a learning experience so I will know what to expect
next time.”

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