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Ponick excels for track and field

April 27, 2012

UW-River Falls track and field senior Becky Ponick has come a long way since having shoulder surgery during her sophomore year of college. She currently owns the fourth best mark in all of Division III in her main event, the javelin throw.

Ponick qualified for the national meet in javelin in her freshman season and placed 12th. Then, in her sophomore year, Ponick tore the posterior labrum in her shoulder. She attributes the injury to overuse from playing volleyball and throwing the javelin. She said it has taken her two to three years to recover from that injury.

The Stanley, Wis., native made the All-WIAC First Team as a junior but failed to qualify for the national meet. This year, she says her goals are much higher now that she is the No. 4 javelin thrower. One of those goals is to become an All-American, which means placing in the top eight at the national meet.

“Nationals is a whole ‘nother world, you have to be able to show up and throw. You can have an off day and hope that nationals isn’t your off day,” Ponick said. The senior captain also said that winning a national championship is not beyond her reach.

“I think it’s definitely a possibility. It’s attainable but I still have a lot of work to do,” Ponick said.

Ponick’s head coach, Aaron Decker, also said that a national championship is achievable.

“Any given Sunday. The national championship title is the most consistent, the most comfortable, relaxed thrower the day of,” Decker said. “If she is relaxed, comfortable, and stable physically, she’s got a chance at it.”

Decker said that has changed for the better since he first met her.

“I know she is a lot more experienced. She has a lot more control over her emotions and over her body. She’s a little more patient than she was last year,” Decker said. “A lot of kids when you first get them, they think they know how they should be doing things. Becky was open to new motions of throwing, which helped her get better. She knows there is still room for more which is the best part about it, she’s hungry.”

Ponick is not all about herself though. Decker said that Ponick came to him and asked if she could participate in more events so that she could get points for the team in the WIAC Championship meet.

“I want to push my other teammates. It’s not just an individual sport, it’s also a team sport,” Ponick said.

Ponick will compete in the Drake Relays that take place at Drake University from April 25 to the 28. It is an elite, qualify-only meet that takes the top 30 athletes at each event. The meet features athletes from Division I, II and III, and the current American record holder in the javelin will be competing as well. Ponick said she is excited about her chance to compete against the best.

“I just want to go there and have fun and throw well. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s going to be an awesome experience,” Ponick said.