ONU's Davis gets her shot -- and it's golden
Olivet Nazarene shot putter Kylie Davis was afraid, which is exactly what she wanted.
“[Coach Tanner Hurt] always says that you should set goals that scare you, but not so much that you can't achieve them,” Davis, a sophomore from Eureka, Illinois, told the Kankakee Times. “And so I think, like, setting goals and then achieving them each year has led me to keep pushing to the best that I can be.”
Davis recently realized how good her best is when she claimed the shot put title at the NAIA Indoor National Championships on March 4 in Johnson City, Tennessee. She earned her first national championship since coming to ONU on a personal-best throw of 14.53 meters — or 47 feet, 8 inches — during the finals.
Her championship could be called a case of Davis exceeding her goals. She said she went into the competition trying to finish among the top eight and earn All-American status. Winning the title was on her mind, but she said she did not want to focus on it.
She called winning the title “surreal.”
“It's hard to put it into words, but I wasn't really expecting it, so it was like a shock to know that I had done everything I possibly could to become the national champion,” Davis said.
On the morning of her championship, Davis said she was nervous like she usually gets before a meet. During the preliminaries, her throws were landing in the mid-13 meters, which she said was average for her.
She was in seventh place after the first three flights of throws to earn a spot in the finals. She said her final throw in the prelims felt good and traveled a solid distance, but the throw was several inches out of bounds.
Davis' first throw in the final round went a bit past 14 meters, which she knew moved her up in the placings. But her second throw was where it all clicked for her.
“It was smooth coming out of the back of the ring, and then I felt the extension, which I usually don't get the feeling of it completely, but that one felt like I extended really good,” she said. “And it went out there, and I was like, OK, that felt good.”
She could not tell how far she had thrown the shot, the crowd hadn't reacted to help her know. Then she saw the mark of 14.53 meters, which was approximately 30 centimeters past her previous personal best.
“I was like, oh wow, that was really good,” she said.
Davis scratched on her third and final throw, which she said was not farther than her previous throw. Then she had to wait as two throws who had beaten her earlier in the season took their final shots.
“They both scratched, and I was, like, oh wow,” Davis said.
Now the outdoor season is coming, and Davis said her sights are set on qualifying for the national meet in shot put, discus and hammer throw.
“I would hope to be All-American in more than one, so that's the goal right now,” she said.