If you are an opponent in this week’s SEC championships (or in next month’s NCAA championships for that matter) you are very likely going to lose.
Fawn won last year’s NCAA title in Eugene with a PR toss of 58.13m on her second throw.
As a typical American shot/disc obsessive, I paid no attention to that fact, and when I interviewed her coach, Steve Lemke, earlier this spring about his fine shot putter Stipe Zunic, I neglected to even inquire about Fawn.
It wasn’t until I noticed that she had notched a 56.01m toss at LSU on May 2nd that I decided I needed to learn something about her before my next conversation with Steve.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that she was the defending NCAA champion.
Woodward and Bernstein would be proud.
But hang on, it gets better.
Steve described some of the difficulties that Fawn has dealt with this season–typical javelin thrower stuff. A sore back tweaked originally in the weight room and then re-tweaked on a bad plant in practice forced her to throw from an abbreviated approach at the Texas Relays. Lousy weather messed her up at Penn. Her technique was still off at LSU (the bad back made her hesitant to hit her block hard) but she basically toughed out that 56m effort. She is still working to find a groove.
Then he mentioned “the accident.”
Turns out that during Fawn’s sophomore year she had been riding a motorcycle home from class when she was struck by a car traveling 50 miles per hour. Her right foot was nearly torn off, and she was very, very lucky to have survived.
She was also lucky to have grown up in Pennsylvania, and to have a friend who happened to be an acquaintance of the team physician for the Pittsburgh Penguins who happened to be extremely skilled at fixing badly injured ankles.
Steve said that initially the hope was that Fawn would be able to walk again some day. Later, that was amended to “maybe she will actually be able to throw again and possibly hit 150 feet.”
But two years after the accident, there she was on top of the podium in Eugene.
Fawn just graduated with a criminology degree, and when her javelin career ends may well become an FBI agent.
If she does, God help any criminal who crosses her path. That old ankle injury may prevent her from chasing you down, but if you are within 60 meters, take my advice and surrender before she has a chance to bust out the ol’ spear.