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Schumaker makes history in javelin

By Stephanie Lane | Sports Intern
On May 3, 2012

It is a feeling most will never know: walking onto the runway, sun on your face, and a light breeze in the air and the javelin in your hand. Although most will not experience throwing a javelin, all athletes know that feeling of walking out onto the court or field right before a game or meet and having that feeling of 'today will be the day.'

"When I woke up that morning, I knew I was going to beat my personal record, I knew it was time for me to," said Western javelin thrower Amanda Schumaker.

The athlete is a junior Community Health major from Gladstone, Ore., who, on, April 21 at the Long Beach State Invitational, shattered the Western Oregon University women's javelin record by more than four feet, throwing 158'11." "I was very happy. I knew I was due for a good throw," stated Schumaker.

She continued, "[2011] was not a very good year for me, and I had been working hard on technique and my fitness. I was extremely happy to break the school record. It is always good to be known as a legend."

In high school, Schumaker participated in soccer and softball, starting her freshman year. "My sophomore year, I just decided I wanted to do track," says the athlete. "I was a really good pitcher too, but I wanted to do track."

While in high school, Schumaker was All-Conference in both soccer and softball and first team All-State in track and field. Her throw on April 21 improved her NCAA Auto Qualifying standard to second best in the Division II for this season and ranks her at the fifth best spot in the GNAC history.

During the time before the competition, Schumaker said she took two weeks off from throwing and put more focus into technique and drills to prepare her. "I felt like the heat was a good thing for me, kept my arm loose. In most cases warm weather is bad because it makes you lose energy, but it was good to be loose and warm for my throw," stated Schumaker.

Like any athlete, even Schumaker is not done with her accomplishments as a javelin thrower by breaking the school record. "Above my bed I have a sign that says '170. Block, Hips, Arm.' Those are the three things I need to work on for the year. It might be unrealistic but it's my goal," she said. "I guess 160 was not farfetched, I am only a foot and an inch away, so 170 is possible. Other goals I have are to win conference and nationals. Next year, I just want to keep improving like I did this year and stay healthy."

"I was very happy for her but it was not unexpected," stated Western's head track and field coach Mike Johnson. "I feel like it has been a team effort to bring [Schumaker] to where she is. We have changed around her schedule and she is doing some things a little differently than others. She is still getting some advice from her high school coach and is getting in conditioning with Cori Metzgar-Deacon, director of sports performance. She is becoming an expert, not just in throwing but in the whole event."

"My high school coach Ray Kauffman has always been there for me. He takes time for me when I need it. He has always been there for me no matter how I throw. He started my sophomore year so we have been working together since the start. Kauffman helps me prepare before throws, both mentally and physically," stated Schumaker.

Being a student-athlete is not all about just showing up to practice and going to meets. Being able to manage your time between school, athletics and social life is crucial to being a great athlete.

"Working hard pays off. I have learned there are no shortcuts in trying to succeed. I have learned to calm down emotionally. I used to get worked up over things. It has made me familiar with my surroundings and now I am able to collect myself better," stated Schumaker.

She continued, "I have also learned a lot about people [by participating in athletics]. I do not always like listening when people are telling me what to do and I have learned how to work with different types of people."

Being part of such a large team, it is somewhat expected that an athlete might not know everyone on their team. "Throwers are kind of separate from everyone, but we all know each other. My teammates are my favorite part of being on the team," stated Schumaker.

She continued, "When I was throwing down at the Long Beach Invitational, all of my teammates that were there came to cheer for me. That is always really nice when family cannot come."

Western's track team competed over the weekend in Eugene at the Pacific Twilight meet and will compete in the upcoming weeks at the GNAC Multi-Event Championships on April 30 and May 1 and will return to Eugene for the Oregon Twilight on  May 4.

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