Shaler grad Boody up to challenge at Robert Morris
Rachel Boody didn't feel she had much to prove when she headed to the NCAA East preliminary meet May 26 in Lexington, Ky. The senior on the Robert Morris track team was seeded 44th of 48 participants in the discus.
That competition wasn't as tough as Boody's previous challenge, starting as a walk-on and proving she deserved a spot on the Colonials' roster.
So for the NCAAs, Boody focused on having fun.
“I wasn't expecting to make it to regionals,” said Boody, a 2013 Shaler graduate. “I wasn't expecting to do anything big. I thought, ‘This is my last year. I might as well put it out there.' ”
Boody's best throw of 51.6 meters (169 feet, 3 inches) broke her own school record and landed her in 16th place, four spots short of making the NCAA finals. Following the first flight, Boody was in first place. Florida State's Gleneve Grange won with a throw of 56.24 (184-6).
Making the preliminary round was a big step for any Colonial thrower. The last RMU thrower to make the regional was Nicole Downing in 2004.
Colonials throwing coach Nash Oven was impressed with how Boody believed in what the coaches were selling. As a freshman, Boody was throwing around 40 meters.
By her junior season, Boody broke the school record by throwing around 47.
“That's the best part about it,” Oven said. “She believed in what we were doing. She believed in the process, she believed in herself. She believed I was going to put her in a position to succeed. That's what you want as a coach. You want someone to trust and believe and have her own self-belief she can do what I'm asking to do. It translated when she stepped into the circle.”
Boody didn't always feel comfortable. It was humbling coming into a program throwing 125 feet and having the worst distance on the team.
Boody stills holds Shaler's record in the discus and is third in the shot put.
“In high school, I was good, but nowhere close to being the best,” Boody said. “I didn't feel like belonged there until I was a junior or senior.”
Technically, Boody had work to do. Once she figured it out, she rewrote Robert Morris' record books. During the indoor season, Boody set school records in the shot put, weight throw and discus. In outdoor, Boody set marks in the shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin.
“I think you had somebody that was raw,” Oven said. “She was strong, I think on the technical side she wasn't there yet. When you brought in the technical side, there was a lot of learning to be done.”
Boody figured things out and was able to exceed her seed. While she fell short of nationals, Boody hardly feels like she fell short of her goals.
Boody earned a scholarship and many accolades during her four years.
“It would be nice, but I never expected that coming in,” Boody said. “I'm really happy with it. If I had another year, I could only imagine what I could do.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.