Making the most of her shot

Century's Dana Reeser is aiming for her third straight state title in the shot put -- and the state record.

May 24, 2006|By MELISSA HOPPERT | MELISSA HOPPERT,SUN REPORTER

Century's Dana Reeser doesn't know where she got her strength.

"In third grade we used to play dodgeball every day and all the kids would hate it when I threw it at them because I threw it so hard," said the 5-foot-10 senior, a two-time state champion in the shot put. "I am kind of a freak of nature in the strength department, I'm not going to lie."

Reeser, who will try for her third consecutive Class 2A state title in the event this week, is throwing better than ever before.

First, the All-Metro selection broke last year's personal record of 39 feet, 9 inches with a 40-8 throw at a dual meet at Century earlier this season. Then she beat that mark with a 41-10 at the Heurich Invite. On May 11, she won her fourth straight county title with a heave of 42-11, not far from the county record of 43-3. It also was the best throw in the state this season and the 18th-best throw in the country according to dyestat.com.

"My first throw was 42-2, and I felt like I had so much more. I didn't even push hard. I was so close [to the county record]," she said. "I was happy that I threw very well, because I [broke my personal record] by a foot, but I was bummed out that I couldn't just do a little more."

Reeser, who won the Class 2A West regional title last weekend with a mark of 41-6 1/2 , will try to do more at the state meet. She doesn't want to just win her third title; she also wants to break the state record of 44-1 1/4 , set by Lindsay Grigoriev of Atholton in 2003.

"I am pretty confident that I can do well again," Reeser said. "All season my goal has been to break the state record. And after counties, I feel pretty confident that I can do it."

She also is aiming for her first state title in the discus. She set a personal best (119-9) at the Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference championship meet earlier in the season and won the county title with a throw of 114-9.

Century coach Jay Umholtz said Reeser's confidence is what sets her apart.

"She's just a good kid. She cares and that's a big part of it, too," he said. "She wants to be good. She finds incentive wherever she needs to, either with an athlete on another team or a record, and that's what she works toward."

Reeser hasn't always worked hard at getting better, however.

"My sophomore year, everything came so easy and I just threw so good without doing anything. And I thought the same thing would happen last year and it didn't," she said.

"This year I am a lot more motivated than I usually am. Every year my throwing coach [Nick Agoris] and my teammates would tell me to lift weights and I never did. But this is my senior year and I felt like I could do a lot more things than I had been doing. So I have been following a lifting program and throwing more regularly and it's really worked out in my favor."

Agoris, who won two state titles in the shot put while at South Carroll from 1976 to 1980, has spent the past six years tutoring athletes at county high schools in the discus and shot put. He has coached Reeser since she was a freshman and said she has always had raw talent.

"I've coached 21 different kids the last 3 1/2 years and they can throw the shot put, but she is by far the most explosive kid from the front of the circle that I have ever seen," Agoris said. "Her arm strength, the way her arm moves, it's like a darn cannon going off."

Reeser's natural athletic ability is evident in the other sports she plays, too. She was a second-team All-County selection as a forward on the basketball team the past two seasons. She also was a second-team selection as a middle hitter on the volleyball team this season.

"I know shot put seems like you just throw this ball around, but it takes strength and quickness and explosiveness. Definitely volleyball and basketball have helped me," she said. "In volleyball, I play in the front row and all of the jumping helps my explosiveness, and coming out of basketball season my legs are always nice and strong."

Said Umholtz: "I think there is a lot of natural ability there that was there from the start. She's also high-jumped 4 feet 6 inches for us whenever we've needed her. She's just a really good athlete. I'm sure that if you put a golf club in her hands she'd probably get pretty good, pretty quick."

Reeser also excels off the track. She has a 4.25 weighted grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. She also is the president of the Varsity Club, which organizes and participates in community service activities such as Rec Night, which allows area eighth-graders to interact with varsity athletes from Century.

"She's definitely a leader, but it's because she's easygoing and she doesn't act like she's anything special," Umholtz said. "The kids like her. She's just one of the gang and she [jokes] around just like anybody else."

Reeser will take her talent to Penn State in the fall. Her mother went there, and so did her cousin, Jason Henderson, a 6-9 offensive tackle in the mid-'90s.

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