Daniel embraces her shot at State


Katie Gerbasich

Sophomore Courtney Daniel throws the shot put at the Grand Oaks track meet earlier this season. She is competing at the State Championships in Austin today.

Zachary Ford, Staff Writer

Three-sport athlete Courtney Daniel has been an essential part of the track and field team the past two years. Today, the sophomore is competing at the State Championships in the shot put at the University of Texas-Austin.

She battled through injuries to become a first-time state qualifier.

During warmups of a soccer game in February, Daniel hyperextended her right elbow of her throwing arm. She was out for the first half of the track season. 

“My first meet back, I threw 32 feet,” Daniel said. “I hadn’t thrown 32 feet since seventh grade, so it was kind of troubling to find that all this work I’ve been putting into something and now I have to restart basically – which luckily, I didn’t totally have to, but it was definitely a big stressor.”

This setback didn’t hold her back for long. She came back with intense determination. She threw 37 feet, 7 inches at District and 38 feet, 11 inches at Area, winning first place at both meets.  Following multiple personal records, Daniel’s chance to qualify for State seemed to be just out of her grasp during the Region meet. 

“I threw the first day and I got third,” Daniel said. “In order to qualify, you had to be in the top two. So for lack of better words, I was kind of devastated, not in a good mood, and not happy about it. It just felt like all the work you put into it was just kind of stripped away.”

Daniel used this disappointment to fuel her during day two. It ended up coming down to the final throw.

“It’s either now or never,” Daniel said. “I had to get over a 40 foot throw to go [to State]. I just started getting hyped up and threw. My final throw was a PR of 40 feet, six inches.”

She is one of only two sophomores competing at the State meet in the shot put. Daniel said a key component will be making sure she is mentally strong.

“A lot of it just comes down to my mentality and making sure I’m not spreading myself too thin,” said Daniel, who is also a two-year varsity member of the soccer and golf teams. “A lot of times what will happen is I want to do so well I’ll work and work and work until I have absolutely no energy left. And then I’ll get to the things that I was working for and I have nothing left to give.”

Eventually Daniel wants to be one of the top throwers in the nation, but for now she is totally focused on making an impression at State this weekend.

“I just want to be able to hold my own,” Daniel said. “I want to make sure I throw over 40 again. I want to make sure that I go in strong and am proud going home. Anything that happens there, I think I’ll be okay with.”