Regardless of what the task is in life, it’s all about being game for hard work and improvement.
Throughout the course of her high school career, Bre Gahm has succeeded in that department — both on and off of the field of play.
The Valley track and field standout — who has thrown shot put and discus for the Indians — accepted an opportunity to join the ever-growing Shawnee State track and field program on Tuesday morning in a signing ceremony held inside the campus of Valley High School.
For Gahm, the opportunity is thrilling because it’s one that she’s worked hard for over the past four years of her career.
“I’m super excited,” Gahm said. “This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I started track as a freshman, so I’m really excited that I get to go to Shawnee State.”
However, for Valley track and field head coach Dale Foster and co-throwing coach Curtis Crabtree, the signing is a well-deserved opportunity for the senior, mainly because of the two words that we all hope to be defined by — hard work.
“Bre’s really worked hard over the last four years,” Foster said. “She really started excelling from the time that she was a freshman. She won the SOC in the discus her sophomore year and has really worked very hard throughout her career.”
“Bre’s a really hard worker,” Crabtree said. “You know that she’s going to come to practice every day. She puts in a lot of time and work into it, so we’re really proud of her. I know that she’ll be successful (at Shawnee State) because of her work ethic.”
That’s been evident throughout Gahm’s track career with Valley. In her freshman year, the standout thrower accumulated an eighth-place finishing throw at the Southern Ohio Conference Meet in 2014 by launching a throw of 78 feet, 1 inch and bested that mark at the Division III Southeast District meet in accumulating a throw of 79 feet, 10 inches to place in 17th among all competitors — which is impressive enough for anybody.
However, by her sophomore year, Gahm had improved her throwing skills so much that she was able to record a conference title-winning throw of 99 feet in the discus a year later, and improve her shot put distance from 22 feet, four inches in April of 2015 to 25 feet within three weeks time.
And Gahm has only continued her consistent performances ever since.
There’s the third-place showing at the Minford Invitational in April of last year, where Gahm threw 90 feet, 3.5 inches to place third amongst all competitors. There’s the 28 feet, 9.5 inch throw that she put together last season in the Division II Southeast District Meet. And there’s the standout’s efforts in the classroom, which won her the school’s Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.
When one combines those qualities, along with the fact that Gahm is willing to throw the hammer and the javelin in addition to the shot put and discus, Shawnee State and head coach Eric Putnam have a winner — with Putnam saying himself that he “wouldn’t have to worry about Gahm because she takes care of her business in the classroom.”
It’s clear that those workmanlike qualities are evident in every area imaginable.
“She’s the first one at practice and the last one to leave,” Foster said. “I know that she worked on the weekends with her form and her release. You can see that over the last four years. She’s worked very, very hard.”
And even better — Gahm has not only the physical tools, but more importantly, the mental makeup to compete at the next level.
“Mentally, Bre’s tough,” Crabtree said. “Whether she has a good throw or a bad throw, she’s going to come back and give it her best effort on the next one. She’s done a good job this year being able to stay calm, focus, and get the job done. She’ll get better moving onto the next level of competition. She’s got that mental toughness to compete.”
“With (Eric) Putnam, if I keep working hard,” Gahm said, “I really think I can go far in my throwing career.”
For Foster and Crabtree, they’re just thrilled to see one of their own receive an opportunity that is well-deserved.
“It’s always thrilling to see students succeed, especially when they go to the next level,” Foster said. “It always is, especially at a place like Shawnee. With her going there now, that will allow her to get some recognition and build up the track program at Shawnee State with additional local athletes from around the area.”
“We’re just proud of her,” Crabtree said. “That’s all Bre. She puts in a lot of work and a lot of time on her own, such as getting those extra throws in after practice. She’s willing to do that. She doesn’t take her abilities for granted.
In Gahm’s eyes, however, it’s the pushing and prodding of her family — along with the coaching staff — that has made her newest opportunity a possibility.
“All of my family, along with my coaches, have been really supportive of me,” Gahm said. “I’m really excited to have them along on this journey.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7
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