BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Lauren Boyd was crowned the NJSIAA Central Group 2 sectional championship title by throwing a personal best 39 feet,10 inches last weekend. This throw broke the school record, as well as qualifies her for the Indoor Meet of Champions, Nationals, Easterns, and Penn Relays.
Boyd has been named Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week for not only throwing a record breaking championship winning toss, her 39-10 mark also ranks her No. 1 in Group 2 and No. 11 in the state. She has surpassed even her own high expectations.
Boyd has been throwing since freshman year and had dreamed of one day breaking the school record. She set out this season to work hard to reach her goal. When Michelle Almeida set a new 38 foot school record in 2016, Boyd was determined to work that much harder to realize her dream. "I worked with my trainer in the offseason, and I told him that I wanted the record and that was my goal," said Boyd. "Every session he would remind me of what I was working for, so surpassing it by a foot and a half is more than I could’ve wanted."
Boyd has seen improvement throughout the season and was hopeful of grabbing the sectional title, but did not expect to surpass Almeida's school record. "I was overwhelmed at first, and then really, really happy," she said. "It really just felt like all my hard work the past four years had finally paid off. But I know the season’s not over, and Groups will be that much harder, so I have to put my head down and keep working."
"Last spring Lauren had a difficult Sectional meet where she missed advancing by 2' in Disc and 9" in Shot Put," said Indoor Head Track Coach Dan Guyton. "To see her now on her way to the Meet of Champions next week as the Sectional Champion and our school record holder is exciting! All of her accomplishments are a testament to her character, humility and work ethic. We are so happy to see her doing so well and can't wait to see what she does next!"
Below are comments from Lauren regarding her past, present and future:
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Why did you start throwing?
Lauren: I started throwing halfway through the winter season during my freshman year. For the first half of the season, I was a sprinter (to get in shape for lacrosse, which I ended up never playing, because I wanted to throw in the spring), but when Coach Guyton and Coach Chan asked me to try throwing, I decided to give it a shot (pun intended).
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: When you set out this year, did you have a goal in mind?
Lauren: With my performance today, I accomplished every goal I had prior to the season. My dad told me to write down a number I wanted to throw before the season ended—so I wrote it down and put it away. That goal ended up being 38’ 2”, which was the previous school record. That was the goal: 38’ 2”. I exceeded that handily, so now I’m going to have to set some more goals—not only in shot, but in the weight room as well.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What team goals were set for this season?
Lauren: For the team, I think we wanted to improve as a whole and just work together to do as best as possible. With our 2nd place finish at sectionals (by a mere 3 points), I think we did well with that goal.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Is there anything you have done differently with your training to steadily improve your results?
Lauren: I’ve just been working on form. I switched from spin to glide last year, so I still hadn’t gotten completely used to the form with glide before this season. Throughout the past few weeks, however, I’ve gotten extremely comfortable with the glide and way more explosive, and it has given me some great results. I always train hard, but recently I’ve really been getting after it in the weight room. Improvements with my lifts have probably contributed to my progression this season along with form practice.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Did you go into this season looking to break records?
Lauren: Oh yeah. I remember as a freshman I used to dream of taking the record, and I knew that would be my one major goal throughout my four years. Before last year, the record was 35 feet, but then it became 38 feet, so I knew I had to work that much harder. I dedicated this season to breaking the record—I worked with my trainer in the offseason, and I told him that I wanted the record and that was my goal. Every session he would remind me of what I was working for, so surpassing it by a foot and a half is more than I could’ve wanted.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: How did you feel when you beat your personal best, broke a school record and brought home the sectional title?
Lauren: I was pretty much in shock. I knew I was improving throughout the season and I felt that I had the opportunity to get the sectional title as well as the record, but I did not expect to get it all at once.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Who has had the largest impact on you as an athlete?
Lauren: My brother has probably had the largest impact on me as an athlete. I grew up watching him play all different types of sports. Whether I was spending all day at a baseball tournament, or cheering him on at a football game, I loved the sense of pride I got from watching him play. His athleticism and dedication inspired me to work hard. I knew I wanted to be just as successful as him, so when I got to the high school and saw how much work he put in, I followed his lead. I began lifting with the mindset that hard work was a necessity in order to be great.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Do you have a special pre-meet routine and what is your favorite thing to listen to before you throw ?
Lauren: The night before the meet, I usually pack up my stuff and watch videos of myself throwing. On the bus, I listen to music and pump myself up, while visualizing myself throwing a bomb, which gets me hyped. When we’re at the facility, I’ll just chill and listen to music. I usually eat a snack (or multiple) before I throw, since throwers have large appetites (that’s why we call it snack and field) and then do some warm ups about 15 minutes before I throw. I have a playlist that I call “track warm up” with all different music: a little bit of Childish Gambino/other rap, the Hamilton Soundtrack, Bon Jovi, High School Musical, some country and Christian rock, a mix of everything.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What do you like the most about GL?
Lauren: I love the tradition that comes along with being a Highlander. My brother, parents, uncles, and aunts, as well as many of my coaches and teachers, all attended GL. I think it’s amazing that people come back to Berkeley Heights/Mountainside and are still proud to watch us beat New Providence on Thanksgiving or Super Saturday. In my opinion, the GL pride and tradition is really exceptional. I’m just proud to be a Highlander. I also love GL Football. Burn the ships.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: You have been awarded the Most School Spirit superlative -- with such pride of GL, what can you tell underclassmen about the traditions of being a Highlander?
Lauren: The most important thing I would tell an underclassman is that he/she should get involved right from the start, become dedicated in whatever he/she chooses, and stick with it. Whether it be getting into the theatre department, or a sports team, or the school newspaper, GL pride and tradition comes from getting to know your peers through common interests. Also, going to events such as games, plays, King of Hearts, Prom Fashion Show, etc. is a necessity. Just enjoy time with fellow Highlanders and that’s when GL tradition/pride thrives.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Favorite subject or teacher the past 4 years?
Lauren: Although I love all of my classes, English has been my favorite subject throughout high school. I love creative writing, as well as writing essays, and just writing in general.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Lauren: I like playing with my cats.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Do you have any college plans and what do you want to study?
Lauren: I will be attending Middlebury College next year. I believe I want to major in English, but I am not 100% sure about that yet.
TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Any plans to throw in college?
Lauren: I will be throwing for Middlebury starting next year.
Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Delicious Heights, a family restaurant with three locations; Berkeley Heights, Bedminster and Basking Ridge, where it is part of the Basking Ridge County Club operating a public restaurant with outdoor dining, and acting as the banquet caterer, boasting a facility with panoramic views of the sprawling golf course. Visit our website, www.deliciousheights.com for weekly specials including Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm and daily featured dinner and lunch specials. Delicious Heights....where our only limitations are yours!