What We'll Miss At State: Erikka Hill Aims High

Written by Natasha Leland

With one year left, Shenandoah senior Erikka Hill is not throwing away her shot.

"Without a doubt, knowing I have a single year left is heartbreaking. But it does give my final year additional purpose."

Throwing 44-2 in the shot put at the state finals last season earned Hill the title of state champion beating out four seniors. Her chance at winning state again in the shot put was promising. Last season, she was seeded second at state, and the rest of the top seven seeds were all seniors. While her state winning throw was just the third farthest throw recorded during the outdoor season, the top two throwers graduated in 2019.

Hill says her first place state finish is her biggest accomplishment, but not just because she won. "I overcame some big challenges that come with being a track and field athlete, personal pressure." Pressure indeed as she faced the biggest competition in the state after winning both sectionals and regionals. "Willing myself to calm down and perform to the best of my God-given abilities was without a doubt my great track and field achievement."

With one state title under her belt, she is ready to win another, but she's not just stopping at the shot put. "I aim to achieve dual state championships in the shot put and discus."

Hill has made it to the regionals in shot put both her freshman and sophomore year placing in the top ten both times. She hasn't yet made it to the state finals even though her best 2019 discus throw at 131-6 was the 14thbest in the state. While there are still many high-ranking discus throwers left as her competition, her determination is not stopping her from shooting for a discus throw over 150 feet.

Even though quarantine has closed gyms this spring, Hill is getting creative with how she trains. She's taking the extended time off to focus on all the details of her trades as well as working with a private coach virtually. All of the at-home training has led her to not take throwing pits and gyms for granted and to be thankful for the countryside. "I have never in my life been so grateful for the numerous cornfields in Indiana!"

Though she is shooting for her individual goals senior year, Hill is ready to be back to feeling the sense of community that comes along with track. One more year to spread encourage her teammates and help them grow before she leaves. "I hope that I can pass down passion and a mentorship that will continue far after I have graduated."