Throwing coach Carleton McGrady knew he had a couple of top-notch performers the first time he saw Freddie Collins and Nya Harris practice for the Bexley High School girls track and field team.
Collins was a sophomore move-in from Canal Winchester and Harris was a freshman. It’s not surprising to McGrady that the two have grown into a record-setting tandem for the Lions.
Now a senior, Collins set the program record in the discus with an effort of 120 feet, 10 inches in the inaugural Jeff Schneider Invitational on March 29 at home.
Harris, a junior, broke the program mark in the shot put when she threw 35-4 in the Bobcat Booster Invitational on April 18 at Grandview.
“They are both good and they both want to learn, but they both had a different mentality when they started,” McGrady said.
“I saw Freddie throw and told her by the time she graduated that she could hold the discus record. Nya came up to me after one of her first couple of practices as a freshman and told me she was going to get the shot-put record.”
It’s the second season in a row that Collins has broken the discus record. Her 118-8 in last season’s MSL-Ohio Division meet broke the record of 115-5 set by Rachel Cain in 1998.
“Technique is the most important part of throwing the discus,” Collins said. “Strength plays into it, but if you don’t have good technique then you aren’t going to do as well. You need to have good form and repetition.”
McGrady said Collins’ athleticism is the key to her success.
“Freddie so good in discus because she did a lot of relays early on,” he said. “She not only can throw but she will run. She has an athletic build and her speed in the ring helps her a lot. She can move through the ring effortlessly and not think about it.”
Harris broke the former shot-put standard of 35-3 set by Katie Sarvas in 2007.
“I have been throwing since my freshman year, and I’m very motivated,” she said. “I have done sports pretty much since I could walk basically. I thought I should try throwing and see what it’s all about. I found out that I was pretty good at it.”
McGrady said he almost called Harris’ shot, so to speak, when she broke the record.
“I was standing by Freddie and I told her, ‘Watch this. Nya’s gonna throw 35-2 here,’” McGrady said. “She threw and we both started laughing because it was such a good throw. It was so close to 35-2 but also a couple of inches better.
“Nya is good in shot because she has raw power. As a freshman she could heave the shot pretty far. I think her cheerleading background helps her bend her legs and get lift when she throws.”
Collins does not plan to throw in college and will attend Ohio State to pursue a health sciences major. Harris is a year away from that decision, but wants to throw in college.
“Every coach wants to have athletes that allow you to just sit back and enjoy what you are doing,” McGrady said. “I’m able to do that with Freddie and Nya. They work hard, listen to what they need to do to get better, and I can just watch them throw.”