Shot putter sets school records despite injuries

Anthony Honrade

Andi Behring, a senior shot putter for the track and field team,currently holds the indoor record with a distance of 49-2.50.

But this feat did not come with just a simple throw.

In her career at Sacramento State, Behring has had to overcome several knee injuries as well as an Achilles heel injury that hindered her from competing to her full potential last fall.

“I’ve had a serious amount of injuries,” Behring said. “My knees have always had issuesgoing all the way back to high school. I’ve had five knee surgeries, and recently, my biggest struggle has been because I tore my Achilles heel in the fall when I was lifting and still haven’t fully recovered from that.”

She has had three knee surgeries on her left knee and two on the right. In high school, Behring tore her MCL and since then, had her meniscus torn and it repaired twice. Her Achilles heel injury is even more of a struggle for her because it is the foot that she pushes off with in the shot put.

Despite all this, in the first meet of the 2011 season, Behring was able to break the school record at Boise State on Jan. 2.

“This year I have finally felt relaxed, happy and confident that all of that is behind me,” Behring said. “I had this confidence knowing how hard I have been working. So much more of throwing is mental than anything. So with the right mindset, the throw almost felt effortless. It’s been a long time coming. And I’m not stopping now.”

The injuries have been one constant in her time at Sac State.

“Andi has struggled with injuries every year she’s been here and she’s worked through them all,” said Kathleen Raske, director of track and field/cross country. “I couldn’t be happier for her in her senior year to be throwing as far as she is throwing.”

Though she has been throwing at a high level, it does not come without difficulty.

Behringsays her injuries never truly go away. She still feels quite a bit of pain in her knees, but to perform at her best, she makes sure she is warmed-up, stretched out, taped up, and sometimes even uses ibuprofen to combat the pain.

“Even with all that, it becomes an issue of mind over matter,” Behring said.

Jeff Magley, Behring’s throwing coach, has been working with her all of five years she has been at Sac State.

“She is a very motivated athlete and has put in the work to put herself in the best position to succeed,” Magley said. “We’ve had to be very creative with her rehab and training. She was one of my first recruits, and we have a very close relationship. She has probably even taught me as much as I’ve taught her.”

Track and field is something Behring did not always want to compete in. Her high school basketball coach, who was also the track and field coach, actually forced her to try out after seeing her throw a basketball the entire length of the court. One week later she was placed the varsity track team.

Behring holds her high school’s records in both the shot put and discus. She was also Female Athlete of the Year at her high school in 2006. To add on to her list of accomplishments, she has maxed in the bench press more than any other woman on this campus with a weight of 265 lbs.

Behring has participated in the shot put all of the five years she has been at Sac State along with another four years in high school. In her time at Sac State, she has also participated in the discus, the hammer and the weight throw.

She will be competing at the University of Washington on Saturday. One of Behring’s goals for this season is to throw 50 or more feet this season.

“Well now that one of my goals is met, it’s on to the next one,” Behring said. “Fifty feet is a huge wall to break down for female throwers, and I can’t wait to get that out of the way. By doing that, I’d also like to get that outdoor school record.”

She also plans to win the individual indoor and outdoor women’s shot put titles this season along with advancing onto the NCAA championships.

“I am fueled by all of the stuff I have been through,” Behring said. “I have been through a tremendous amount of hardship in the past year, injuries and otherwise, and instead of letting it drag me down I have chosen to use all of that as motivation and it has been working so far.

“Now that I’m out there, I don’t take it for granted. I have nothing to lose so I just try and enjoy the time and experience with my teammates,” Behring said.

Along with her many accomplishments on the field, she has also been named one of the team’s captains because to the many qualities she has shown in her time at Sac State.

“Being a captain is really important to me,” Behring said. “It motivates me to throw far as a leader.”

Anthony Honrade can be reached at [email protected]