Radford High School’s Mary Brown is the defending state 1A/2A champion in the discus and announced Thursday that she would continue her athletic career right down the road.
She established a new personal mark of 125’-10’’ last spring and is looking to improve upon it this year. Brown said she chose Radford University for several reasons, including staying in the community she’s grown up in, but that was not the original plan.
“Initially I was so against staying in my hometown, and I just went on the official visit because my parents talked me into it, but when I got there, everything changed for me. I have lived in Radford my whole life, and I never saw RU like I did on that visit. Not only are their coaches and athletes amazing, but their academic and research programs are great as well. When I got back home, I was so confused because I was dead set on not going to RU, but the team and the professors that I met absolutely changed my mind for the better,” she said.
Brown started throwing both discus and shot in the seventh grade and was hooked.
“I didn’t really want to, because I would’ve rather been in a running event. But when I started practicing throwing, it just came naturally and I kept hearing it. The coaches just said you’re a natural and the older high school kids said the same. It was so odd to me because I’ve never been the kid who was really good at sports, but for the first time I found my place,” she said.
According to Brown, her success stemmed from the repeated encouragement from one of her coaches. Brown saluted the coach during her signing ceremony in the school’s library.
“Nick Pappas took me under his wing and really pushed me to where I am today,” she said.
Pappas passed away last year, but his wife stood in for him during photographs with Brown. After winning two state championships and breaking her own personal best, Brown has achieved a lot of her goals, but still has the drive to get even better.
“I want to throw as far as possible every single throw, and my goal is to continue throwing further and further each meet and hopefully get the school record,” she said.
Brown plans to major in biology with the long-term goal of going to medical school.
“Since I go to southwest Virginia’s Governor School, I have enough credits to enter as either a first semester junior or second semester sophomore, so I’m hoping to also get my masters while at RU. After RU, I would like to go to med school and pursue being a doctor. Since I love helping people and I’m a challenge junky, being a doctor makes perfect sense,” she said.
Her success has not just been limited to the track, She has also succeeded in the classroom and expects to finish in the top one percent of her senior class. She credits her parents for teaching her how to lead her life.
“I’m an only child so my parents feel like my best friends, and they really are,” she said.
Brown also tries to volunteer every chance she can to experience places like soup kitchens and orphanages.
“I feel like throwing, learning and helping others are the parts of the path God has set for me in life,” she concluded.