Senior athlete exceeds limits, holds national record in shot put

Senior+Makayla+Long+poses+with+her+score+at+the+Red+Mountain+Rampage+as+the+new+national+record+holder+for+girls%27+shot+put.+

Contributed by Makayla Long

Senior Makayla Long poses with her score at the Red Mountain Rampage as the new national record holder for girls’ shot put.

Senior Makayla Long is a student-athlete that holds the current national record for shot put, a track and field event that tests the strength and agility of an athlete by throwing a weighted ball as far as they can. In the women’s high school division, Long holds her spot three inches above now-second place which makes her national record stand at 53 feet. 

Long has been participating in track and field, specifically discus and shot put, for 7 years and has been competing since 8th grade. Since coming to Perry, she said, “The coaches really care about you. It’s a great experience just to go out and have fun. There’s really nothing bad that can come out from going out for track and field.”

Since the absence of a season last year, Long found a positive perspective from the experience. She said it helped her refine her technique and details to become a better technical athlete. The lack of distraction added to her focus and determination to come back stronger than ever. 

In the days leading up to surpassing the record, Long says that she had been having a productive week in training. “I’d been really close to a PR [personal record],” Long said as she recalls back to before her record breaking throw. “Going into it I knew that if I nailed my technique I would have a good throw,” Long said in regards to her mindset the morning of the throw. 

To finish her senior year strong, Long has set several goals that she is working toward. Long said, “I want to win state… especially in discus.” She has big plans to win the Arcadia invitational which is known as the most competitive track and field competition in the nation. 

In order to motivate his students, girls’ track and field head coach Bryan Idleman said, “I set expectations early and we talk about goals and what they need to do to get to where they want to be.” Idleman said that Long “absorbs what she has learned & uses what she can to make herself better.

Teammate and sophomore Vienna Morley characterized Long as an example to the team. “Her success in track inspires other people to do better and work hard,” she said. When asked what Long had taught her, teammate and senior Sam Rogers said, “I have learned so many things from her that I don’t know where to start… She helps me in discus on how my feet should be placed and how my hips should bring the power in the throw.” 

Long has plans to continue her athletic career in college. When asked about how the new environment and team would affect her performance Long said, “I think it’s going to be great… they want to see you succeed so they’re going to do whatever they need to do to make you comfortable.” Long has committed to Baylor for her university career beginning in the 2021-22 school year.