Shawnee High School senior Liz Walton has never been closer to her field event teammates — in this case sophomores Natalie Seeberg and Zion Aikens — compared to past seasons. You just might not know it by watching the Braves warm up.
As a way to push each other to throw the discus and the shot put farther and with accuracy, the teammates take turns being targets.
“We always stand out there and tell them to hit us,” Aikens said. “It really does help us where to aim it.”
While none of them have actually been hit, of course — “It’s been close a couple of times,” Seeberg admitted — the trio has been on the mark in the Central Buckeye Conference. Walton leads the CBC in the discus with a throw of 114 feet, 3 inches. Aikens has the league’s best toss in the shot at 35-3. Seeberg is fourth in the discus at 98-5 and is fifth in the shot at 30-8.
While they are close in the CBC standings, the trio is more proud of how close they are as friends. Shawnee throws coach Tim Seelig said that is often unusual for field event athletes.
As he watched Walton practice for the discus at the Bulldog Classic in West Milton last Saturday, Seelig marveled at how both Aikens and Seeberg — neither who threw the discus at the Classic — supported Walton by sharing tips. And donuts.
“Most of the time your shot putters would be (at the team tent),” Seelig said. “Zion and Natalie are over here hanging out with Liz. It’s pretty neat. And that’s not something we’re pressing them to do. They dynamics are just right.”
Both Walton and Aikens are making strong bids for state. Walton finished sixth at the Division II regional last season, two spots from state. Aikens missed state by 2.75 inches. Shawnee’s girls moved up to D-I this season.
Aikens — a powerlifter who can bench 250 pounds — is also closing in on the school shot record of 40-2 set back in 1982.
As for Seeberg, Walton thinks she’ll be topping her discus throws by the time Seeberg is a senior … if not sooner. Both are aiming for the school discus record of 118 feet.
“We’re always competing against each other and it really makes us better,” Walton said. “Natalie’s only a sophomore and she’s almost at the same level I am. I think it’s great. If I break the record I hope she beats my record.”
There’s one record neither Walton nor Seeberg will ever top Aikens — the fastest time in getting under each other’s skin. Aikens especially knows how to push Walton’s buttons.
“She’s quiet. She’s aggravated easily and I find it funny,” Aikens said, laughing. “Whenever she fouls I’ll tell her, ‘You’re supposed to get it inside the lines, Liz.’”
Added Seeberg: “I personally like to get down on myself when I don’t have a good throw. But they pick me up. Zion can make me laugh whenever and Liz is just the same. Zion’s laugh is so contagious.”
Walton appreciates the humor, too. Most of the time.
“She doesn’t let anything bother her,” Walton said of Aikens, shaking her head and smiling. “Zion likes to get under your skin. But she makes you not think about a bad throw. She helps you keep a level head when you throw.”
Even when it’s at a teammate.
“We always try to aim for our boys (at practice),” Walton said. “They’re more annoying.”