When she released it, she knew.
It’s not like Crawford senior Ashton Chambers has an internal yardstick. When she lets the discus fly, she doesn’t think to herself, ‘That one is 119 feet, 10 inches.’ But she can feel the difference between a typical toss and the really good throws.
“You feel it,” Chambers said. “Most average throws of mine are like 115 to 116 (feet). But you feel it. Your upper body feels a lot stronger. I thought, this is going to go really far. … Or at regionals it was my parents yelling.”
Her parents had good reason to whoop and holler. Chambers won the Region III-2A title in the discus two weeks ago in Palestine to clinch a spot at this week’s UIL State Track and Field Championships in Austin. On her very first throw she unleashed a school-record and personal-best effort. By the time her last attempt rolled around, she bettered it, measuring in at 120 feet, 4 inches.
Now the competition will get even thicker.
“My goal was to get to state, and now I’m really looking to better myself,” she said. “I’m not really looking to catch the person in front of me or catch the person in first place. I’m really looking to improve my record.”
Chambers began competing in the discus and shot put in seventh grade, though she took a break from it her freshman year, as she pared her schedule down to “only” three sports. By her sophomore year, she returned, as she realized how much she enjoyed track and field.
Her throws have progressively gained distance ever since.
“I feel like when you improve in discus you don’t improve daily,” Chambers said. “I don’t feel like it’s like softball and basketball where if you practice and practice and practice eventually it becomes rhythmic. With the discus, it’s new every time.”
Chambers’ daily schedule stays jam-packed, as she is a starter for Crawford’s playoff-tested softball team. She also played volleyball and basketball for the Lady Pirates. When she qualified for state in the discus, Crawford’s coaches informed her that she was the first girls athlete in school history to make state in three sports. (She’d previously made state tournament runs in softball and volleyball).
Pretty cool, Chambers thought. But I didn’t get there alone.
“Out of my four sports, I made it in three,” said Chambers, who plans to “retire” from athletics and study nursing at McLennan Community College in the fall. “But I attribute that to the girls who have been with me the whole time. Even though track is like a single-person sport, I always had people there to cheer me on and be with me. It’s practically a team sport to me.”