Newman to make splash at Shawnee

Published 10:00 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

Coal Grove Lady Hornets thrower Olivia Newman signed a letter-of-intent Wednesday with Shawnee State University. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, father Mike Newman, Olivia, and mother Tiffany Newman; standing left to right, cousin Lauren Webb, uncle Willie Webb and brother Bryson Newman. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

COAL GROVE — If you see Olivia Newman lay down in the shot put circle and do the backstroke, don’t panic. Old habits die hard.

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The Coal Grove Lady Hornets senior thrower has spent most of her life as a swimmer, but as of Wednesday she is a member of the Shawnee State Bears track program after signing a letter of intent.

Newman didn’t start throwing until her sophomore year after she moved back to Coal Grove from Morgantown, W.Va.

“I was more of a swimmer my whole life. When I moved back here, they didn’t have a swim team so I had to find something new to do and I chose shot put and disc,” said Newman who spent her younger years swimming at Marshall University.

Olivia Newman

“I still have some of my muscles from swimming. I did it for eight years. I still have some of my back muscles. Also , in swimming you have to be fast. When you throw, there’s certain parts of your spin you have to be fast and I do have that quickness that some people just don’t have because they never had to be quick. I really do think it has helped me.”

While the shot and discus were new to Newman, she will get two more new events with the hammer throw and javelin.

“I want to do shot and discus but I’ll also test out the hammer throw and javelin,” said Newman. “I’ve would be so happy to try (the hammer throw). It looks so fun. I wish we had it here.”

While the field events are traditional in college track, track at Shawnee State is relatively new with a young program.

“It ’s a new program and they really don’t have a lot of girl throwers right now. They’ve signed some this year. (Coach Conner Flynn) was really down to earth and honest about the program,” said Newman.

“They have a new (throwing) coach who will break down step by step how to do your spin and your kick. I think it will really be a good opportunity for me. He could help me a lot.”

Flynn sees Newman as an important addition to the track program that has a need for throwers.

“We’re currently trying to build a full track program at Shawnee and Olivia is going to go a long way to helping our women throws. We competed well at the conference meet but we noticed that the women’s throws and sprints are where we are lacking, so if we can fill those we can be more successful,” said Flynn.

“With Olivia we see  a sense of competition and what we see as progression to not where she can be, but she can make a lot of strides in college and be a better athlete and help us win.”

Competition is something that Newman never causes her to shy away from.

“There’s definitely harder competition, but I think that makes you better. Competition is always good and it will help to improve me. I love it,” said Newman. “I love it.”

“Right now, I’m pretty sure I’m one of the top throwers they have coming in. In practice, my shot put is anywhere from a 35 to a 38 (feet) right now. In the disc, I’m throwing anywhere from 100 to 118.”

Shawnee State has a weight program which Newman plans to welcome with open arms. She said that she has done some weight training but plans to benefit from a regular program at Shawnee State.

“They have weight training and more time to focus on that, so I think with them doin that it will help me a lot,” said Newman.

“You have to be here every day and in college you can have all your classes in one day if you want and have the rest of the week to focus on track or whatever you want to focus on.”

Newman said her college goals are simple.

“I want to do the best I can and just get better. I want to PR (personal record) and I want to get points and help Shawnee win,” said Newman. “In meets I get a little nervous, but I’m hoping to overcome that in college,”

Newman plans to major in psychology with a minor in criminology.