SIDNEY — For many field event competitors — especially those in the shot put and discus — the allure of less running than their track teammates is a bonus. Sidney High School senior Emma Wiford can run, mind you, as her soccer and basketball careers attest.
But she had no idea how much chasing she’d actually be doing as a field event specialist. Wiford continues her pursuit of Sidney’s shot put and discus records entering this week’s Division I district meet at Piqua High School. She’s also looking to exceed last season’s effort at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium, where she finished a frustrating fifth in both the shot and discus. The top four finishers advanced to the regional meet.
“It definitely drives me,” Wiford said. “I never forget about it. I don’t dwell on it. I just need to improve. It’s always going to be there to drive me forward.”
Wiford enters the D-I district meet with a personal-best throw of 34 feet, 9 inches in the shot put. Her best throw in the discus is 109-08. Both of those throws would have qualified her to regional last season.
“That was a little bit of a heartbreak,” Sidney girls coach Ruthie Baker said. “We’re going for a less bittersweet ending this year. She threw all right (at district in 2018), but if she threw as good as she did at GWOC the week before she would have been solid.”
Wiford finished eighth in the shot at the GWOC All-Star meet on Friday with a throw of 33-11. In the division championship meet last Tuesday, Wiford finished fourth in the shot (32-08.5) and eighth in the discus (87-03).
As for the school records, Lietta Bradnewie holds the shot put record of 38-08 set in 1977 and Willa Stuart holds the discus mark of 120-0 from 1990.
“She’s one of those kids that really concentrates on what they do and works hard at it,” Sidney throws coach Joe Stockton said. “She’s one of those pure athletes that puts in the effort. She has the want-to and the willingness to compete.
“Throwing is very technical. If you’re off on this it’s going to throw that off. She has to be pretty consistent. A lot of it comes down to the technique and getting into the right flow.”
Should Wiford get the Yellow Jackets’ shot put and discus records, it wouldn’t mark the first crown she’s worn. Wiford was voted homecoming queen in September. She was also on the prom court in April.
“She’s well liked. Her peers like her and we like her,” Baker said. “We’re going to miss her big time.”
But hopefully not for a few more weeks. Wiford throws the shot on Wednesday and the discus on Friday. A top-four finish sends her to the regional meet and a chance to qualify for the state tournament.
Wiford started throwing in the seventh grade. She already played soccer and basketball and wanted a spring sport. It was a season later when she really started making her mark in the field events.
“I actually didn’t start out too good but in the eighth grade something just clicked,” she said. “Ever since then it’s definitely been one of my favorite sports. … Discus comes a little easier to me. Shot is a little more near and dear to my heart. I just like that a little bit more.”
Wittenberg University, a Division III program in Springfield, recruited Wiford. But she was also accepted to Ohio State University, her dream school. Ohio State and its medical field won.
“It was really tough. It took a lot of thinking about,” Wiford said of ending her career after high school. “I went back and forth but I decided on Ohio State. This is my last year so I want it to be good.”
Wiford will miss the competition as much as her teammates once the season ends. But she’s not ready for good-byes just yet.
“I’ll miss all of it, really. The meets. Hearing when you get that PR, you’re like yes! Definitely those big achievements,” Wiford said. “I want to make state. Getting on the podium would be great. Ultimately I want to break those records.”
She’s giving it a good run.