Big 12 Campus Correspondent
When most people think of a track and field team, they think of individual events and individual athletes looking for their best mark. But the Oklahoma State women’s throwing squad takes a different approach.
“At OSU, I feel like I have really joined another small family of girls who I have formed friendships with that I will probably have for the rest of my life,” redshirt Freshman Alyssa Henrichs said. “I think that those friendships are so strong because we all spend so much time together and do the same things.”
These teammates share such a bond because they relate to each other on and off the track.
“The group of girls we have now just all click,” Henrichs said. “We all get along great. We can laugh and joke together outside of practice. But when we get to practice, we all understand we’re there to work. I think doing things outside of practice is what makes us so close and creates a better atmosphere at practice.”
As the lone senior, Julie Rader is the anchor on the throwing team but that comes with its responsibilities.
“As a college athlete, there is always a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed,” Rader said. “As a senior, I do feel added pressure to perform on a higher level. Everyone wants to end on a good note and I want to go out fighting.”
Rader sees being a senior as an opportunity to encourage the younger athletes and push them to new heights every day.
“I hope that every single one of my teammates surpasses everything I have done, and leaves a mark on this university, in the Big 12 and at the NCAAs that makes them unforgettable,” Rader said. “I hope they succeed and continually pursue greatness, honor and always remember to stay humble and thankful for the situations they are in. It has truly been an honor to compete with them.”
Henrichs sees Rader astrue inspiration and a great encouragement to the team on and off the track.
“She has shared a lot of her wisdom with us and has really helped us, underclassmen, with getting involved in many aspects of OSU,” Henrichs said.
While the throwers are like a family, they also realize the importance of individual workouts to develop their strengths and abilities.
“We obviously don't do as much running and cardio as runners do,” Henrichs said. “We do more Olympic lifts such as cleans, snatches and squats. Our workouts are very individual based too, which I think is good because we all individually struggle with different things.”
Track and Field can be viewed as an individual sport, with each event adding to a team point total, but the throwers still support each other during every event.
“Throwing is a very individual sport,” Rader said. “What your teammates do doesn’t effect how you compete. As teammates though, I think we are there for each other, encouraging one another to keep on going and get better.”
For a sport that requires each person to train different, it can be a challenge to keep a team close. But the OSU throwing team keeps their bond strong by doing extracurricular activities together.
“We go to other sporting events together to support the other teams. And we also do dinner parties and stuff like that,” Henrichs said.
The girls know when they need to work at practice, but one reason they are so close is because they know how to have fun too.
For a senior like Rader, who has had a good career at OSU, the most important thing she will take away from her experience as a Cowgirl is the friendships she has made along the way.
“Everyone brings their own element and strengths to our team and without every single one of my teammates, something would be missing,” Rader said. “I have gotten to compete against some of the greatest throwers in the world, but more than that I have gotten to be friends with some of the best people I will ever know. I am thankful to know and call them all teammates and friends.”