By David Fong
TROY — Kesley Walters’ dream nearly got lost in cyberspace.
For months, the Troy High School senior figured her dream of being a Division I college track and field athlete would never come true. As things would turn out, however, the invitation she had been so desperately hoping for merely got lost on the way to her email inbox.
“It was a really long, stressful process,” Walters said. “I was beginning to think I was going to have to settle for a Division II or Division III school. But then a couple of months ago I found out an email Ball State had sent me never came. They had sent it last fall, but I never saw it. It’s a good thing they got back to me.”
Ball State’s follow-up on the lost email turned out to be mutually beneficial to both parties, as Walters — Troy High School’s school-record holder in the shot put — has committed to throw for the Cardinals’ track and field team next year.
“It’s always been my dream to throw at a Division I school,” Walters said. “Now that dream is coming true. I loved the coaches and I loved the girls on the team.”
While Walters is getting the opportunity to live out her dream, Ball State is getting an athlete with seemingly unlimited potential. Walters began her track and field career as a sprinter — she remains one of the Trojans’ top sprinters while still throwing the shot — and didn’t begin throwing until her freshman year at the urging of Trojan assistant coach Aaron Gibbons.
She qualified for state last year, finishing 10th and just missing a spot in the finals with a throw of 38-9.5, a school record at the time. Last week at the Greater Western Ohio Conference meet, she again broke her own school record — something she’s down several times this season — with a throw of 40-8.5.
This week, she’ll begin her attempt to get back to state as she competes at the Division I district track and field meet at Wayne High School.
“I feel like I still have a lot I can improve on,” she said. “I feel like I can throw into the 45s. My goal is to keep breaking my own record and set it high enough so no one can touch it.”
Troy track and field coach Snyder said the sky is the limit for Walters — and not necessarily just in the shot put. He said he could see her throwing the javelin or hammer in college — two events that don’t take place at the high school level — or even continue as a sprinter for the Cardinals. She was a part of the Troy 4×200 relay team that qualified for state last year. She also was an All-GWOC North Division performer in soccer for the Trojans.
“She’s just an incredible athlete,” Snyder said. “She can do pretty much anything she wants to do. She’s smaller than a lot of other shot putters, so I could see her doing the javelin in high school. I could even see her being a sprinter — that’s just the kind of athlete she is.”
As much as Walters generally enjoys throwing weights around, however, she is glad at least one has been lifted off her shoulders now that she’s made her college decision.
“This is such a relief for me,” she said. “I’m glad it’s over. It was something that was really stressing me out.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong