By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Waverly senior Marissa Eisenhower knew Hartwick College was the one for her the first time she stepped on campus. Now, she will spend the next four years there throwing on the track & field team after verbally committing to the school.
“Everyone told me you just know a school is for you once you’re there,” she said. “I visited a lot of schools, and when I went to Hartwick I just had that feeling about it. Everyone there was so nice, and everything lined up perfectly.
“I don’t have a major yet, so Hartwick being a Liberal Arts college was perfect for me,” added Eisenhower. “And, the coach and the whole team were great — everything fit so perfectly.”
Eisenhower, the school record-holder (36-feet, 5 1/2-inches) in the weight throw at Waverly, said Hartwick wasn’t even on her original list of schools.
“The coach contacted me, and I decided maybe I should apply (to Hartwick),” she said. “Then, I got a good scholarship package, so I decided I should visit.”
Eisenhower threw mainly the discus and shot put in her high school career, but will be much busier in college.
“I’ll be doing all the throwing events — shot put, discus, javelin, hammer throw, and weight throw,” she said.
“(In high school) I did the weight throw during the indoor season, and I did the javelin during the outdoor season at Pa. meets,” noted Eisenhower. “And, I bought a hammer throw recently, and I started picking up on that to start practicing.
“I look forward to the diversity of all the events,” she added. “I like throwing, it’s a good outlet for me.”
Eisenhower definitely has a preference.
“I’d have to say the weight throw is my favorite,” she said. “Most people hate because it kills your back, but I love it.”
Longtime Waverly track & field coach Scott Baird, who has transitioned to the throwing coach, said Eisenhower has come a long way.
“Marissa went from just giving it a try … not having any aspirations, and not taking it seriously to where she couldn’t get enough of it,” he said.
Baird believes Eisenhower will be successful at the next level.
“One, she’s found something she likes, and realizes she’s pretty good at it,” he said. “Because of that, it took her to the next step … she was determined to get better, and put the work in.
“Two, she has really hit the weights,” noted Baird. “I would have loved to see what she could have done this year. She is so much stronger this year - her total body strength has improved.
“(Last year) she placed at the league meet, and the (Section IV) class meet (last year), and that carried over in her determination to get better.
“And, she found a school in Hartwick that, first and foremost, offers her a good education,” Baird added.
Baird said she has “some little things to work on,” but her work ethic and more experience will help her.
“It’s not a lot of big things,” he said “For instance, in the shot put, I could never get her — going from when the shot is against her neck to the total release to explode out of it. I think that’s the biggest thing she’ll have to work on.
“I think she just needs more time throwing,” noted Baird. “She’s already experienced with the shot and discus, and she has some experience with the weight throw during indoors, and a little with the javelin at Pa. meets.
“There are some little things she’ll need to work on,” he added. “She’ll need to get use to the college set up because it’s not like high school.”
Baird is pleased to see Eisenhower compete at the next level.
“I did not realize until this past winter that she was even interested in competing at the next level,” he said. “I’m really excited, happy, and proud she made the decision to compete in college.
“If she can pull it off as a freshman — especially academically, which is the hardest part — she could easily be throwing all four years at Hartwick,” noted Baird. “She’s a strong student, so I’m confident in her.”
Eisenhower has not decided on a major.
“I’m leaning toward criminal justice, but I want to keep my options open,” she said.
IN PHOTO: Marissa Eisenhower.
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