Her warmup is their workout

April 27, 2022

Senior Samantha Sy’s track and field career has been a long one. Long enough for her to have climbed her way up to varsity in field events, shot put and discus, to be specific. She began in sixth grade and competed for a spot to get into the regular season meets in seventh and eighth grade, and she only went up from there. 

“I did some practices at the high school for both shot put and discus over the summer when I was in middle school, but I didn’t start throwing discus seriously until freshman year,” Sy said.

Since the beginning of the year, practices have resumed their regular schedules as they try to settle into a new norm for sports. The effects of COVID-19 on student-athletes are not always adverse, and these effects pushed Sy to seek practice outside of the regular season and outside her comfort zones. 

“Over the summer, I did a ball throwing club with Anderson, my other coach,” Sy said. “I’ve kind of exposed myself to a lot of different throwers and a different kind of competition that I normally would get during the in-school season.”

Coach Del Pechauer, shot put and discus coach, has seen her grow and progress as an athlete since the beginning; seeing her growth has been a real journey, especially with COVID-19 canceling numerous track events.

“She has been with us since freshman year,” Pechauer said. “So we had freshman year then we had COVID-19 year and last year, six weeks and now she’s a senior.”

Pechauer has commented on her form and technique, as she was one of the team’s quickest growing and stronger throwers. 

“Her technique has definitely gotten a lot better,” Pechauer said. “It’s probably one of our best. As far as the technician part of it. She’s one of the best that we’ve had.” 

Pechauer has also mentioned how his teaching and coaching techniques have been altered and taken by the throwers over the years. One of these throwers is Sy; over the past four years, COVID-19 may have changed some of the old ways of throwing, but these changes can be seen as needed and valuable. 

“We’ve had to change because some people want to do the rotation, others want to do the lifts; we’ve done that,” Pechauer said. “Discus was just learning new drills as we go on and sometimes we have to change for what throwers want from me.”

Sy has struggled on her way up. Like many other athletes, Sy goes through slumps and mental blocks that negate her from performing her best. Discus takes a level head and clean form to throw the absolute best; mentality is everything.

“Most if not all my hardships are related to my mentality,” Sy said. “I’m prone to get in my head a lot and Anderson can vouch for that. The actual throw takes maybe two seconds, give or take. And in those two seconds, there are so many aspects that I find can go wrong. I’m just a chronic overthinker. So I’m always worried about doing good and not disappointing the team, my coaches, and myself.”

Sy also has a standard for herself as the throwing captain. Pechauer wants older students who have been with them for a while to demonstrate the correct ways to throw, so it is a requirement to have prior experience and knowledge of the technique. Sy fits the bill. 

“I think the most important qualities have to as a throwing captain are grit, empathy and energy,” Sy said. “As a leader, you’re the example for new throwers and Pechauer especially likes to have veterans demonstrate drills. I know when I was an underclassman I always looked up to the juniors and seniors because of how good they were the and years of experience they had.” 

Sy emphasizes the points required to become a good throwing captain more in-depth, as energy and empathy are essential when leading a team. These two values push the throwers to be a little more energized and dedicated with a kind and caring captain. 

“In terms of empathy, it’s a given that people will have their off days and we can get in our heads,” Sy said. “Knowing how the rest of the team is doing during practice and meets is important to keep their spirits up or motivate them to throw even farther. Also, another quality is energy. Practice can get really tiring with all the throws we do along with the work we do in the weight room. I find practice more enjoyable when we’re all getting along and laughing together and I hope that everyone else enjoys practices a little bit more because of it.” 

Sy’s teammates have only had good things to say about her, hoping she would do well this season and only have good interactions with her outside of practice. Sophomore Olivia Moisa, a thrower, had only good things to say about her. 

“She’s very nice and helpful when it comes to things that I didn’t understand at first, but she’s really good,” Moisa said. “I think she’ll make it to state.”

Sophomore Charlie Kempf also shared these opinions. Being an underclassman, she had someone to look up to that was a bit older and more experienced. 

“I would say she’s very smart in her field,” Kempf said. “She helps me a lot with discus and shot even along with the other coaches.”

Sy is making extraordinary progress in her final season of track and field, ensuring that she brings her team up with her as she moves on to her next goal: State.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Logan Van Alstine
Logan Van Alstine, Sports Photography Director

Logan Van Alstine is a senior at ACHS and it is his first year as a member of the Tom Tom staff. Logan enjoys playing video games with his friends and working out for an amount of time which a lot of people would think is ridiculous. Logan both loves and hates playing "Destiny 2" with an equal amount of passion.

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Jacob Slabosz, Lifestyles Online Director

Jacob Slabosz is a senior and has been on staff for two years. He has played baseball at Antioch for four years and is a three-time state qualifier with the math team. In his free time, of which he has very little due to frequent overworking, Slabosz enjoys cooking, scrolling through TikTok, boating and throwing sass like there is no tomorrow.

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