SHADAE LAWRENCE admits she was a bit stunned to hear the measure of her opening discus throw at the Mountain West Championships. “My aim was really to just win and get the points that my school needed to win the championship” she says. “I wasn’t really expecting to throw that far.”
The 23-year-old Colorado State senior had flung the platter a Jamaican Record 213-5 (65.05), a mark that only two other collegians have ever bettered. “I was thinking, ‘60m [196-10] and I’ll be on the right track.’ When the throw actually happened, I was like, What’s going on? It was kind of a bit surprising.”
She followed up with a third throw at 208-1 (63.42), a mark that only 7 other collegians have ever bettered—and any of her five fair tosses would have been enough to deliver the points to the Rams’ winning team effort. Lawrence explains, “I knew I was throwing far, especially when we were doing practice throws. But I didn’t know [exactly] how far I was throwing. In the meet it was basically the same distances I was throwing in practice. It didn’t feel like 65m. I thought it was over 60, but not 65.” The big throw came several weeks after a 209-7 (63.89) at the Mt. SAC Relays, her first PR in two years.
Lawrence won the ’17 NCAA title wearing the colors of Kansas State after placing 4th as a frosh, even though she had been just a 159-8 (48.66) high school performer. She and her twin sister, Shardia, had come to Manhattan, Kansas, together. Shardia placed 6th in the NCAA Indoor triple jump this winter for the Wildcats. Last year, Shadae took 2nd at the NCAA, and found out a couple of months later that throws coach Greg Watson would be moving to a position at LSU. “I didn’t want to go with him, but I thought I needed a change in environment,” she says. She looked around and settled on Colorado State, where throws mentor Brian Bedard is the head coach. “I knew he was good,” she says.
Now she’s hoping she can return to the top step of the NCAA podium in June. First, though, she has to survive Regionals. “I’m a bit nervous about it. That’s a risky meet. We have to ensure we get in the top 12 in three throws. Anything can happen. “So, I’m just keeping my composure, continuing training. I’m keeping that up, but I’m confident that I’m on the right track with that.”
With graduation coming in December, Lawrence will remain in Ft. Collins through the World Championships and beyond. She competed in both the Worlds and Olympics for Jamaica before, but has never made the finals. She hopes to change that. “We’ll see what the future holds,” she says. “The plan is to stay here and train for a while. If I don’t stay here, I still want [Bedard] to be my coach wherever I am.”