SPRINGVILLE — Jessica Weide is a junior at Springville’s Griffith-Institute High School and a shot-put thrower for the track team.
“Shot-put is when you jump in a gliding position and push or throw an 8-pound or 4-kilogram weight as far as possible,” she explained.
On Feb. 8, the State University of New York at Fredonia hosted the team championship, and Weide’s success helped her team earn sixth place in Western New York for the Small Schools Division.
She broke the standing record of 30 feet, 8 1/2 inches, with a throw of 33’8.5.” Weide beat that record during the first meet of the season, which was held at Lancaster Field House.
“It’s a funny story. When I broke the record at the first meet, we actually had no idea. It wasn’t until three weeks later, when my coach was like, ‘I think you broke the record.’ So, in the middle of practice, the other throwers, my coach and I looked and there it was,” she said. “I was really excited. I mean, that’s something I’ve never done.”
Ever since the first time she broke the record, Weide’s performance has only improved.
“From then on, the better I do, the higher the record goes. I just keep breaking my own record,” Weide said.
“[Jessica] overcame a calf injury early in the season that was holding her back. Since that time, she has been steadily improving, week by week,” said track coach Joseph Marvin. “This is impressive, because she is balancing being a student, a peer tutor and an athlete. She is a worker and her own worst critic.”
“My teammates are always like, ‘Oh, Jess the record holder,’ sarcastically, but I know they are just as proud of me as I am of myself,” Weide added. “Track is like a second family to me, whether it’s indoor or outdoor. I can literally tell these girls and guys anything. It’s like a great support system and the best thing is, I can stay in shape at the same time!”
Weide had started off playing softball, but in the spring of her freshman year, she decided to take a shot at track when Mark Heichberger, the outdoor track coach, recruited her.
As for the upcoming season, the record-holder already has another record in mind. “[The spring season is] scary but also exciting. Paige Willson set a [shot-put] record of 38’3.75” [in 2011] and it has always been my goal to beat that. So, I’m just going to keep pushing myself to improve and get closer to that mark. It might not be this year, but I’m determined to beat it, before I graduate.”
Weide also placed third in small schools, during the championship at SUNY Fredonia.
“I always wanted to leave my mark on S-GI,” she said. “And now I have.”