Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teen Eclipses State Record with Discus; the Orange Park Eighth-Grader Credits Her Dad, Lots of Practice for Her Success

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teen Eclipses State Record with Discus; the Orange Park Eighth-Grader Credits Her Dad, Lots of Practice for Her Success

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL JOHNSON

Hannah Boggs has a secret weapon. It is her dad.

When the 13-year-old Orange Park Junior High School student recently tossed a discus farther than any Florida junior high school athlete has ever thrown it, it was her accomplishment and her name that went into the record book.

But parents teach their children what they know, and in Hannah's case, her dad, Audie, knows a lot about throwing a discus. And Hannah had enough love for him and for throwing to parlay the combination into record-breaking form.

A few weeks ago, on the grass at Clay High School, a round chunk of rubber that Hannah launched landed 86 feet, 5 inches away and broke school, county and state junior high school records. The previous state record was 85 feet 8 inches.

How did she become a state record-holder at such a young age? Hannah smiles and looks at her father.

"It took a lot of practicing," she says, "And I just have a love for it."

Her coaches' help and family support have a lot to do with it as well, she adds.

Much of Hannah's success, Audie Boggs says, is that she has the technical expertise most girls her age do not. Some of that has to do with hard work and practice, and some has to do with the fact that she lives with one of her coaches.

Boggs, who competed in discus at the collegiate level, taught his daughter what is known as the South American spin. It's a move most older discus throwers must learn to be competitive, but few girls in junior high school master.

Orange Park Junior High Coach Shawn Ruszkowski says there's a good reason for that.

"Most girls are not ready for that particular technique at this level," she says, citing the complexity of the move and the size of young girls' hands. "At this level, just gripping the discus is a challenge. What Hannah has been able to accomplish is an incredible feat."

The coach says the spin has added about 20 feet to Hannah's throws.

Hannah knows why few her age attempt the spin: It's difficult, and if done wrong, it can look really, really bad. She knows this from experience. At one meet this year she threw twice into the protective netting that keeps discs from flying off in the wrong direction and hurting someone. …

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