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McElroy 'puts' in the work

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By Jesse Osbourne

Tamyra McElroy is a quick study.

The Marion County High School senior has only thrown in the shot put a handful of times yet she qualified for the state track meet a few weeks ago.

Not only that, but the then junior finished 14th out of 23 athletes. Not bad for a newcomer.

Lucky for track Head Coach Robby Peterson, he happened to walk by at the right time.

"I just happen to walk by there one day and she picked it up and threw it," he said. "I didn't realize she was so strong since she was such a small girl. She's a very powerful girl to throw that shot put the way she does."

Powerful indeed. And quick at improving.

The 'small girl' gained nearly two feet on her best throw in under a month. One of her first attempts at the shot put came in mid May at a home track meet. Her throw measured 28 feet and 2 inches.

Fast forward to a week later at the region track meet. She threw for a personal best 30 feet and 3 inches and finished fifth place overall at the meet.

McElroy wouldn't top her best at state, throwing for 30 feet, 2-and-a-half inches but she still finished respectably for a person who only began throwing the shot just weeks earlier.

Peterson is ecstatic with her finish and plans to use the senior in shot put events next season as they try to send another record amount of qualifiers to state.

That is, if she doesn't master another event or two in the meantime.