Anderson has heavy impact after court exit in Chicago



January 22, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Valerie Anderson decided to brave the bitter Midwest winters more than two years ago with hopes of playing women's basketball for the University of Chicago.

But the 5-foot-11 player from Dulaney got caught in a coaching switch for the Division III Maroons and never made it to the basketball court.

Instead, she switched gears as a Chicago freshman and made an instant splash in women's indoor track and field, throwing the shot 12.16 meters (39 feet 10 3/4 inches), third best in school indoor history.

The junior has gone on to decorate the school's outdoor and indoor record books, establishing school records in the indoor 20-pound weight throw at 14.27 meters (46-9 1/2 ) and the outdoor hammer throw at 45.89 meters (150-6 1/4 ).

The weight throw broke her school record of 14.23 (46-8) and came last weekend during a second-place individual and team finish in the Illinois Wesleyan Relays.

Besides standing third all-time at the school for the shot put, she's also third on the discus list and seventh all-time in the javelin.

"It all worked for me," said Anderson yesterday morning from Chicago on her move from basketball to track and field. "I was the outdoor MVP as a freshman and the outdoor/indoor MVP as a sophomore. Those have been my biggest thrills here."

However, she says the best is yet to come.

"Now, I'm out to qualify for the NCAAs and I think I have a good chance because my coach is working hard on my technique," she said. "I'm already ahead of last year's pace, having turned in an NCAA provisional qualifying throw [14.27 meters] in the 20-pound weight. I need to work on the shot. I'm going for 12 meters [39-5]."

Further proof of Anderson's rising star was her selection for the first time last week as the University Athletic Association's Athlete of the Week for women's indoor track and field.

Hanging in there

Chante Alexander, a senior forward for the James Madison women's basketball team, continues to fight through knee problems after two operations for anterior cruciate ligament tears in little more than a year.

Alexander (Milford Mill) is averaging 9.8 minutes, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.1 points a game for the Dukes, who are 2-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association and 7-7 overall.

She appeared ready to overcome the first knee operation that prematurely ended her senior high school season when she started four games early in her freshman year at JMU and scored 10 points against Rhode Island and had an eight-rebound effort against Virginia Tech.

But the knee flared up in mid-December of that year, forcing her to undergo a second operation at the end of her freshman season (1.8 scoring average).

In her sophomore year, she came back to average 2.1 points a game and win the team's Courage Award.

Alexander dipped to 1.4 points a game her junior season, and is struggling through her final season.

Et cetera

College of Wooster women's soccer midfielder Beth Henninger (Annapolis) closed out her career third on the school's all-time scoring list with 74 points (29 goals, 16 assists). Henninger had three goals and four assists her senior season as the Fighting Scots (13-2-5) finished No. 19 in Division III.

Another Baltimore-area soccer player, freshman Nicki Hunt (St. Paul's School for Girls) played in 10 games for Wooster and recorded three shots.

Have a postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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