One afternoon when she was a freshman, Molly McCreedy passed by the shot put circle walking back from softball practice. Jenna Jerome was working with coach Kathy Topping on technique, piquing Molly’s interest.
“I watched Jenna Jerome throw, and said ‘Hey, can I throw that?’”
After receiving a brief overview of the basics, she gave it a try.
“So, without any thorough education I threw [the shot put] upwards of 29 feet.” The middle school record at the time was 33 feet.
“It’s always come pretty naturally to me,” admits Molly, who won the Indoor Track and Field State title in the shot put and placed sixth at The New England Championship this year.
Her throw of 39’11’’ qualified for Indoor Nationals, but she declined to go because she didn’t want to miss too much school.
“Academics are a priority of mine,” explains Molly, as committed in the classroom as she is on the field.
“It would be nice to go to a school with a Division 1 team, so I could hopefully go to the Olympics, but I know I can only do my sport for so long, and I need something to fall back on.”
George Olson, Molly’s throwing coach, is confident in her abilities. “She’s very talented, extremely coachable, and has picked up the technique faster than anyone else… It’s her craft.”
In softball, Molly’s previous sport, throwing is just one of many skills involved. In discus, throwing is the only thing that matters. You can get away with being a mediocre thrower and still be a decent softball player, but track is much more focused than that.
“Throwing is technique,” Molly says. “Without technique, you can have all the strength you could ever desire but you’re still not going to be able to throw as far.”
Mental and muscle memory can make or break a throw. With only three attempts allowed per meet, consistency is a treasured skill.
“I tell myself ‘Don’t think, your body will do what it needs to do’.”
“It’s interesting that sometimes, she throws better when I’m not around,” George says.
Preparation is also essential to success in track and field. Part of that preparation is superstition.
“I always wear my lucky socks,” Molly says.
At the freshman-sophmore meet last year, Molly was wearing her black-gray-and-pink striped Darn Tough socks when she set the new school record in shot put. Now they are part of the tradition.
Other preparations involve getting into the right headspace. When only slight variation in technique can produce wildly different throws, this is very important.
“Before competition, I always envision what the perfect throw will look like,” Molly says.
“I run the step pattern in my head all day… I just remember to breathe.”
Katie Comstock, a thrower from Windsor, was uncontested for best in the state during Molly’s freshman year. At the Essex Invitational, the qualifier meet for the New England championship, Molly was two inches away from qualifying.
“Afterwards, she came up to me and told me that I would never amount to anything,” Molly recalls.
The next year, at the same meet, Molly’s first throw of 126’’5’ was enough to worry Comstock.
“That psyched her out, because she was used to being the best, and she was not a good loser.”
Although Comstock’s throw was close to that distance, she stepped out of the throwing circle too soon, resulting in a fault, which means her throw was not counted.
“She stepped out of that circle and faulted, and started bawling,” remembers Molly.
“Maybe it was out of frustration… but I like to credit myself with making Katie Comstock cry.”
“I don’t think Molly relished that too much,” remembers George.
So Far This Year:
Molly began the year with a PR in the discus with a distance of 131’’2’. Her shot put PR is 40’’9’. She is currently undefeated this year in all the events she has scored in. She holds the school record in shot put, and is second in school history in discus. She is the favorite to win all her events at the State Championship.
George puts it simply; “Sky’s the limit.”