|With one meet left, Bridgette Nash is hoping she is saving her best for last|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
May 9, 2006 - After two previous years as an alternate to the state track meet in the shot put, Sulphur Springs senior Bridgette Nash found herself in the same position this year at the regional meet.
On her side, though, was the fact she had one last throw left.
Nash had her farthest throw of the competition and moved into second place on her final throw, which qualified her for the UIL State Track and Field Meet this weekend. In doing so, she kept up a trend - making her last throw her best one.
SSHS track coach Jeff Riordan said that will keep Nash as a legitimate medal contender at state.
"The thing about Bridgette is that she comes through in the clutch," Riordan said. "I think as long as she has a throw left she's going to have a chance."
Nash threw 40 feet, 6 3/4 inches at the regional meet in Denton, which is the fifth-best qualifying throw of the eight state competitors. However, she is less than a foot behind the third-best qualifier and aims on getting out even farther at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin when she throws at 6 p.m. Friday.
"My goal is to throw 42 feet because I'm No. 5 right now. That would be my best throw," she said. "I'd like to come home with third place - at least third place."
Riordan has been placing a cone at 42 feet during practice rounds and said Nash has been hitting it consistently.
"She's capable - she does it every day," Riordan said. "It's just getting to the meet, putting it all together and being a good shot putter.
"I think she's got a good chance. There's a girl who's throwing 45 feet, and that's something Bridgette can do if she puts it all together and explodes out there and throws it."
Rachel Garcia of Missions Veterans Memorial has a 45-6 qualifying toss and Amanda Van Dyke of Pflugerville Connally was just a fraction of an inch shy of 43 feet in her regional meet.
Riordan said as long as Nash is focused, she can match those tosses, especially on her final throw.
"She can throw 36 or 37 feet and be sitting in sixth, seventh or eighth place, but I'm confident on her last throw she can go out there and medal," Riordan said. "I think that's a good goal for her - to medal and throw her best throw of the year."
The state meet is always the best time to set a personal record. Myers Stadium, which holds about 20,000 fans, will likely be full when Nash takes her place in the ring on the north end of the field.
She has competed in the Texas Relays, which is also in a packed Myers Stadium, so the state meet won't be culture shock.
"I'm excited. I'm hoping I'll get down there and get that adrenaline in my body," Nash said. "When it comes down to the last throw, it's like it is my last chance to get what I want. When I get this goal in my head on my last throw, I kind of feel it in my body and I lunge it out there.
"I want to go out with my best because it is my last chance."
A three-year varsity letterman in basketball and three-year regional qualifier in track, Nash will be competing Saturday in her final school athletic activity.
To get ready, she has been throwing a 16-pound shot put in practice, doing push ups and hitting the weight room. She's also been spending hours in the shot ring.
"We've just been working on getting across the ring, trying to get her stronger and more explosive across the ring," Riordan said. "She wants to do her best at state, and that's what we're working toward."