Scotus senior Marika Spencer is a goal setter, someone who subscribes to the notion that anything worth writing down is worth accomplishing — even if she doesn’t always bother to commit it to pen and paper.
Some of her accomplishments have happened a bit more serendipitously.
For example, Spencer never wrote down a goal of becoming the all-time leading home run hitter at Columbus High, which co-ops with Scotus during the softball season. However, her 21 round-trippers are the standard.
She never aspired to come off the bench to become a vital scoring option on the Shamrocks’ run to a Class C1 state basketball championship last month. But it happened.
It’s been a good year for Spencer, who last fall signed a letter of intent to throw the discus and shot put at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
That, by the way, was a goal.
So was setting school records in the discus and shot put, along with winning state titles in both the discus and shot put last May. Mission accomplished.
Her list of achievements — written or not — make her an obvious selection to our group of Super Seniors. Former Telegram sports editor Kollin Miller put together the list.
So what is a suitable encore for her senior season of track?
One meet into the new season, with rugged weather conditions, Spencer set a goal of throwing the discus 145 feet. She outdid herself with a throw of 146-7 that broke her school record by more than 4 feet.
“I set goals all the time and I work to set them,” she said. “I want to know that I can accomplish what I set out to do.”
She competes in events where proper footwork could be the difference between a record-setting throw and a foot fault. Fortunately, her father built her a thrower’s ring in the family garage that allows her to work on her technique from home.
“I go in there and do footwork,” she said. “If I can’t figure something out in the ring, I’ll go off to the sidewalk and do some spins just because I know footwork is the main thing for throwing.”
It’s that kind of commitment that allows her to excel, but Scotus track coach Roger Krienke said there’s more to Spencer’s success than her work ethic.
He calls her an elite athlete — someone capable of walking on her hands one minute and doing the splits the next.
“It’s incredible what she can do and the power that she has,” said Krienke, who has spent the last 20 years coaching high school football and track.. “She is probably the best all-around athlete I have ever coached. She’s physical, but I also think she has a strong mental side. I’ve seen that come out. She loves to compete. It seems like the bigger the meet, the better she throws.”
She’ll embark on her biggest athletic challenge in the fall when she begins her quest to compete collegiately. She figures to be redshirted as a freshman as she throws herself into training, schoolwork and learning a new technique that she hopes will allow her to someday compete at the highest levels.
“It scares me, it’s scary coming in as the underdog because I’ve never felt that way in track before, but it will be fun,” she said. “I’ll get to push myself to see how far I can throw it.”