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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Sarah Watson throws her way to triumph

Courtesy Sarah Watson
Senior captain of track and field Sarah Watson wins gold. She competed in the 2023 MCPS spring County Championships and won first place in discus, earning a 100-09.

You’re standing in the circle, clutching a metal disk and ready to throw your personal best. Before releasing the disk, you quickly rotate your body. As you spin, the discus flies and leaves your hands, soaring into the sky. This is what senior captain Sarah Watson executes and what her future as a track and field commit at Emory University consists of. Watson wanted to commit to a school for track because of her love for the sport and the atmosphere it entails; she could not imagine going to college without track.

Watson used to swim and appreciated the individual nature of the sport. She wanted to continue to be a part of this environment by doing track.

“My freshman year I wanted to do track and I thought that discus seemed like a really cool event, so I duct taped two frisbees and I taught myself how to throw discus … and the coaches didn’t have any girl shot put throwers, so I decided to do that too,” Watson said.

Furthermore, WJ track is a close-knit team that always has an encouraging atmosphere. On both the sprint and distance sides, there’s immense support, and Watson loves to be a part of the “little throwers community.”

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“Everyone is all very supportive and always watching me throw, and I’m always watching them throw, so I like the tight team environment … I hope it’s just like that at Emory,” Watson said.

Despite shotput and discus being an individual sport, in addition to being encouraging to one another, Watson and her teammates foster a supportive environment that supports one another.

“Both on and off the field Sarah is just an amazing person. She is so sweet and is always helping encourage you to be your best no matter what she’s going through. Since she is one of the senior captions, she’s always helping to make sure we are moving as a team and motivating everyone to get what they need done. She brings entertainment to me everyday,” junior Cecilia Johnson said.

A typical practice for Watson looks different than sprinters or distance runners. Additionally, indoor track and outdoor track are relatively the same; however, discus is not an indoor track event.

“For indoor, we’ll spend half of practice outside throwing shot put and then the rest of it inside in the weight room … for outdoor track, we’ll have the same divide; however, we spend the first half of practice at discus and shot put and then we go inside [to the weight room],” Watson said.

As a student-athlete, it’s difficult to balance schoolwork and sports, but Watson has created a system that benefits her.

“I try to get as much work done during the day and then when I get home from practice, I just try and focus as much as I can,” Watson said.

Track meet superstitions are also key for many athletes’ success and puts them in the right mindset. Since Watson’s sophomore year, there has been applesauce at meets, which is now Watson’s lucky charm.

“I also have a lucky sweatshirt that says ‘Emory,’ and I tend to do well when I wear it, but this might be my brain,” Watson said.

In addition to superstitions, rituals and taking care of your body are essential for progress and achievement.

“The day before meets I’ll stretch and ice down any sore muscles, and the day of I’ll usually have a breakfast sandwich and yogurt for breakfast … I’ll also drink tons of water both days and make sure to get tons of sleep,” Watson said.

Watson has also had injuries that prevented her from training and participating. Not only do injuries take a toll on athletes mentally, but they also make them more susceptible to getting hurt again. At last year’s indoor track regionals, she fell and sprained her foot, missing a lot of crucial practices.

“Sophomore year I got a concussion in the fall … and I missed all of the valuable training time for [discus], so I had to work back up after that and just gain confidence and hope that I wasn’t gonna fall and get another concussion,” Watson said.

Outside of practice, Watson makes sure to stay fit and workout. Watson often goes to the gym and lifts if she missed a track practice or didn’t get a full workout in. Watson also practices with two Clarksburg coaches outside of school who have been supportive as they always attend her meets, treating Watson like one of their own competitors.

Furthermore, the coaches at WJ have been mentors to Watson throughout her high school career. Coach Martin has contributed to Watson’s success and Coach Hoffman has also had a significant impact on Watson’s skillset.

“Sarah is a very dedicated athlete and has a diligent work ethic who is always full of encouragement for her teammates and well liked by all … her positive attitude would be beneficial to any team,” Martin said.

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Lily Tapparo
Lily Tapparo, Senior Sports Editor
Senior Lily Tapparo is excited to participate in her first year with the Pitch as a Senior Sports Editor. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Lily plays soccer, is an officer for Best Buddies, and enjoys hanging with her friends.
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