By Lauren Coronado
Cal Poly Pomona’s track and field athlete Carissa English made history by breaking a school record in the hammer throw by nine feet.
English, a fourth-year psychology student, has been competing in hammer throw for four years and has been a member of the Broncos’ track and field team for two years.
Before the invitational at UC San Diego, English was ready to do her best.
“I wasn’t really nervous about other competitors; I was just worried about beating my last mark,” said English. “I try not to view it as competing against others, but more competing against myself.”
English’s record-setting mark also ranks 14th in the entire nation.
“I was trying to beat 50 meters and 13 inches, so when I hit 53 meters, I was shocked because I didn’t think I was throwing that far,” said English. “My coach says once everything clicks, you do everything so effortlessly.
“So when I threw the one that broke the record, I didn’t think it was that far. I was just completely ecstatic because I didn’t think it would be that far.”
Track and field head coach Octavious Gillespie-Bennett has been training English for the past two years, practicing hours a day.
“We had made adjustments to her technique,” said Gillespie-Bennett. “Within the last three weeks she struggled a little bit at first to make the adjustments, but as soon as it clicked in, she really felt a lot better.
“She was already our top hammer girl. Her throw was nine feet past the previous record. She has always had the potential to throw this far, and she has the potential to throw even farther.”
Nina Pritchett, a third-year urban and regional planning student and fellow thrower, spoke on English’s work ethic.
“[English] is very motivated, focused and hardworking,” said Pritchett. “We’re all one big family here, so seeing her hit provisional makes us all want to work harder.
“We’re all here for each other, and even though we may compete against each other, at the end of the day we’re all happy with our results.”
English does not plan on stopping after this school record.
“My next goal is to really hit a good mark to make it to nationals,” said English. “Automatic qualifying mark is 59 meters, but I think I can confidently make it to nationals with a good 56, so that’s my goal right now.
“[I want to] keep climbing and reaching for that goal. It’s my senior year and it’s something I wanted to do last year, but it didn’t happen. So this year I’m really going to make it.”
Gillespie-Bennett is confident in English’s success and looks forward to seeing her continue to grow as a Bronco athlete.
“I think there is a lot more to come,” said Gillespie-Bennett. “This is her last year competing [and] I know she wants to try to compete post-collegiate as well. She has a ton of potential. She keeps on working hard and she will only get better.”
Victoria Kernen / The Poly Post
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