She is currently the top-ranked high school shot putter in the state, and she is No. 13 in the nation. And after her sophomore year at Trinity Christian, she already has the second longest throw in Georgia high school history, private and public school included.
In this year’s GISA state meet, she won the shot put by 10 feet, breaking the GISA state record by 4 feet, and added the discus title. For that, Howard has been named The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Much of Howard’s success can go right back to her family.
“My dad threw the shot in high school and then in college at the University of Georgia,” said Howard, who also has the highest GPA in Trinity’s sophomore class. “I can remember picking up the shot put when I was 5 or 6, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. As I got older, I tried most of the other sports, but I wasn’t real good at any of them. I seemed to always go back to shot putting and as I got older, I kept getting better.
“I really enjoy it now, because it is a great way to get to spend a lot of time with my dad. He is fun to hang out with and has been a great coach for me. He knows when to push me and he knows when to ease off.”
Howard has been training hard all summer, trying to get stronger. She recently finished second at the New Balance National High School Meet and will travel to Singapore at the end of the month as part of the American team in the Youth Olympics.
“I went to Italy last year for the Youth Olympics and didn’t do that well, but I feel like I am way ahead of where I was last year,” she said. “I feel like I know what to expect this year, and it won’t be so overwhelming to me. I just want to continue to gain experience and enjoy myself, and if I can do that, I think I will perform well. I have put in the time in the weight room and working on my technique, so I feel pretty good about the trip.”
With two more years of high school, Howard really hasn’t thought much of where she will go to college but does hope to continue throwing the shot put on that level.
“It’s something that I really like to do, and I would like to see how good I can get,” she said. “I know that I have a long way to go, but I definitely hope to continue throwing in college. I am usually pretty focused on my training, but it is great to have someone like my dad around that knows the kind of training I need to be the best.”