Success comes naturally for Buckwalter

Adam Shay, Sports Features Writer

The goal in any sport is to have fun and most importantly; win.  Winning has been a tradition for Eastern senior track and field athlete Bryn Buckwalter ever since her sophomore year of high school.

Junior Bryn Buckwalter earned first team All OVC honors during the 2016 Indoor Season. Buckwalter's best shot on the season, 48 feet 11 inches, was good for second best on Eastern career list.
Adam Shay
Junior Bryn Buckwalter earned first team All OVC honors during the 2016 Indoor Season. Buckwalter’s best shot on the season, 48 feet 11 inches, was good for second best on Eastern career list.

Buckwalter joined track and field her freshman year of high school.  It did not take long for her to realize her true potential in discus, even winning state her sophomore year, in the event.

Buckwalter holds the Freemont High School discus record of 125 feet, 9 inches and placed fourth at state in shot put.  Buckwalter held the high school’s record for shot put before her distance was broken.

Of all her memories, Buckwalter said she will never forget winning state her sophomore year, in discus.

“It was on the last throw and the girl that was suppose to win was sitting there so it was really unexpected,” Buckwalter said.

It did not take long for colleges to send her scholarships and offers to continue her track and field career.  There was one scholarship that stood out to her the most: Eastern.

Every year, Eastern hosts the state track and field meet, which had an impact on Buckwalter coming to Eastern.  Buckwalter said when she received the scholarship, there was no doubt she wanted to pursue track at Eastern.

“The track’s blue and I was so little at the time, it just sounded so appealing to me when coming here,” Buckwalter said. “I had my eyes set on Eastern since freshman year.  I never really cared to go out and look at other schools.”

She said she heard people bashing Eastern’s economic struggles, but this did not matter in her decision and still does not.

Aside from herself, Buckwalter said she is playing for everyone who has had an impact on her athletic career, especially her parents.

“I am playing for my parents, God, coaches and friends,” Buckwalter said.  “My parents are amazing.  They drive four hours to my meets and that’s more than I could ask for.”

Transitioning from high school to college is always a challenge for most athletes.  Buckwalter said she had it easier than most athletes because of her mom and dad, who both coached at a junior college level.  They helped prepare her for collegiate athletics.

However, Buckwalter said the transition from high school to college level training was still challenging when it came to practice.

“The practice hour increase was huge.  I went from practicing an hour and a half daily to four hours a day.  A normal day is practicing from 2 to 6 p.m.  It was eye opening to me,” Buckwalter said.

Buckwalter said she had other older friends who helped her in having a better perspective on the transition.

One particular friend that helped her was Janie Howse, who graduated last year.

“She really helped me my freshman year,” Buckwalter said.  “She was probably the best role model teammate I ever had.”

What changed from high school to college was Buckwalter’s shot put talent.  In high school, her best field event was discus.  So far in college, discus has taken a back seat to shot put, which has become her best event.

Like high school, Buckwalter began her winning tradition her sophomore year in college.  For indoor events, she won shot put at the Ohio Valley Conference Championship by throwing a 47’1.50”, earning her a spot on the OVC Championship squad and ranking fourth on the Eastern career list.

Since Buckwalter began her winning tradition her sophomore year, that is all she has continued to do.  Last year, Buckwalter placed second in Eastern history in shot put, throwing 48’11” at the OVC meet.

Also last year, Buckwalter had four first place finishes outdoor in shot put at the ISU Redbird, Illini Twilight, Eastern Twilight, and OVC Championship tournaments.

Regardless of her numerous accomplishments at Eastern, Buckwalter said it does not compare to when her team wins.

“I am on some all-time lists pretty high, but nothing compares to two years ago winning the indoor championship as a team in 2015 and outdoor championship in 2016,” Buckwalter said.  “I have never been so happy in my entire life when the team was holding the trophy.”

There are some athletes who face adversity and problems in their career that may diminish their confidence.  In Buckwalter’s career, she has never had her confidence diminished.

The only time Buckwalter has ever missed a meet was because of a broken thumb bone she suffered last year warming up in the weight room.  Buckwalter said she was only out a week and a half and he injury was not that serious.

But like most athletes, she wanted to continue throwing as soon as possible.

“The doctor told me I was going to be out longer,” Buckwalter said, “but I said I’ll be okay.  He originally said I would be out 4-6 weeks, but I said no, I’m really not.”

Buckwalter said her coaches have helped her confidence skyrocket as they set goals for her constantly.

“I have always had confidence,” Buckwalter said.  “My coaches have always had confidence in me and there’s never been a time I haven’t reached their goals.”

When it comes to personal goals, Buckwalter said it is important for her team to win in her senior year.  However, with how successful Buckwalter has been, she has made some personal goals.

“I want to win shot put again for the third year in a row,” Buckwalter said.  “Also, my goal is to score as many points at the conference meet as possible in discus, shot put and hammer. I guess my goals are to set school records, but they are not as important as winning the conference meet.”

Continuing with her idea of listening to her coaches, Buckwalter said it was essential when she entered college athletics as a freshman.  She said freshmen need to pay attention to the coaches, along with other tips.

“Ask questions, and stay true to yourself,” Buckwalter said.

Adam Shay can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]