Luhrsen taking busy schedule south to Flagler College

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, May 13, 2023

South Point Lady Pointers’ senior track standout Makinzie Luhrsen signed a letter-of-intent Friday with Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., to throw shot put and discus for the Saints. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, mother Jessica Luhrsen, Makinzie and father Nate Luhrsen; standing left to right are throwing coach and uncle Rusty Smith and head coach and papaw Randy Smith. (Tim Gearahart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

SOUTH POINT — Little did papaw know he was opening up Pandora’s Box.

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When South Point Pointers head track coach Randy Smith took his granddaughter Makinzie Luhnsen out to the garage around the age of 12 to get her started on extracurricular activities, she not only embraced it she took it to the extreme.

Luhrsen has a loaded schedule that keeps her busy virtually year-round. She plays soccer, bowls, does powerlifting, track, softball, dancing, cheerleading and in her “free” time she reads a lot and even has various hobbies like MaCrochet.

“I wanted to do as much as I could so I didn’t look back and regret anything,” said Luhrsen.

South Point’s Makinzie Luhrsen

But all that work paid off as the Lady Pointers senior track standout signed a letter-of-intent on Friday to throw shot put and discus and possible the hammer for the Flagler College Saints in St. Augustine, Fla.

“I look at some local places. When I was younger I always thought of going to a bigger school. But as I got older, I kind of realized the smaller school was more for me and I always wanted to go to Florida and the campus is gorgeous.It just worked out,” said Luhrsen.

Coach Papaw recalls those formative years and how his granddaughter tried to soak up everything she could like a sponge.

“When she was in the sixth or seventh grade we had her out in the garage throwing stuff,” said Smith. “We had things lined up on the wall to catch things and started her because she was interested in doing something. We started out there when she was young and kept on doing it and we showed her how to do it so that when it came time for her to really get into it I just handed her over to Rusty.”

Rusty is Rusty Smith who is not only one of the top throwing coaches anywhere at any level but Randy Smith’s brother and Makinzie’s uncle. Rusty Smith has trained Olympic gold medalist Randy Barnes.

“Rusty is the guy. He’s the top thrower. Anything she gets is him and her. I just got her started. Rusty got her going. She’s a great kid and I’m very proud of her and she does a little bit of everything,” said Smith.

But going to the college level and juggling practice, meets, travel and classes will force Luhrsen to condense her activities.

“I’m going to be able to occupy my time with track because they practice all year round,” said Luhrsen. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to completely dedicate myself to my studies and track. I go to seven sports. I’m always going to something.”

Luhrsen is also the class valedictorian and was the Homecoming Queen. She’s play about every sport but football.

“I was thinking about it,” she said with a laugh.

Luhrsen said she has no real favorite when it comes to sports.

“Sometimes it’s soccer, sometimes it’s track. I like track. It just depends on the season. Sometimes I go ‘I love this so much more.’ But it just depends.”

Luhrsen said she’ll miss being close to home where she can lean on her grandfather and uncle, but she thinks this is the best path for her overall improvement.

“I feel I can reach my full potential down there. I’m very sad I’m going to be leaving Rusty,” she said. “I’d really like to just continuously get better and win the conference. I just want to win the (Ohio High School Division 2) district and goes as far as I can go.”

Flagler is a member of the Peach Bell Conference and is an NCAA Division 2 program. The school enrollment is approximately 2,600 students.

Luhrsen plans to double major in criminology and psychology.