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MCGILL: Budd Blooms in Shot Put, Eyes 50-Foot Throw

Ericka Budd.
Ericka Budd.
Feb. 15, 2018

By Chuck McGill

In Ericka Budd’s collegiate debut more than 14 months ago, she threw 40 feet and 10.25 inches in the shot put. In the final event of her freshman season, she threw 40 feet and nine inches. In December, to start her sophomore campaign, she threw 40 feet and 6.75 inches.

Then, something clicked.

“We made some technical adjustments,” said first-year Marshall track and field assistant Paul Barrett. “She’s extremely powerful and explosive and works hard. She wants it really bad.”

The result: Budd has added nearly six feet to her throws in the shot put. Last weekend, in the Chipotle Marshall Invitational, Budd threw 46 feet and 4.25 inches, which put her in first place in the event and seventh in Conference USA this season.

“The leaps and bounds I have made since my freshman year to now have been huge,” Budd said. “Last year I was doing good to hit 41 (feet) in a meet. This year, it has all clicked. I have been throwing 47 and 48 (feet) in practice.”

The routine tosses of 40 feet are history. After the Marshall Opener in mid-December, she returned Jan. 13 to throw 46 feet and 0.5 inches at the Marshall Women’s Classic. A week later, she threw 45 feet and 1.5 inches at the Gladstein Invitational in Indiana. She threw 45 feet and 4.25 inches at the Thundering Herd Invitational at the end of January, and then eclipsed 46 feet in her final home event of the season.



The rapid, drastic improvement has made Budd, a sophomore who starred at Huntington High School, adjust her goals.

“I want to hit 50 feet by the end of the indoor season,” she said.

The 50-foot goal is a barrier for a lot of throwers, according to Barrett. But he has been around elite throwers in his 26-year college coaching career. He coached 19 All-Americans at Wyoming.

“I could tell she has all of the characteristics of a 50-foot shot putter,” Barrett said. “She’s pretty elite. I’ve had a half dozen or so girls who are similar, and she has all of the tools they had. She has opened her eyes and started seeing what she could do, and she has stepped up her game.”

Budd has competed in the discus, hammer and weight throw in her collegiate career, but focused on the shot put this spring. She started competing in sixth grade and developed into a state champion at Huntington before becoming a student-athlete at Marshall.

“What I love about the sport is that there’s a competitiveness, but once you go to a meet those girls are your friends,” Budd said. “They’re not angry or mean. You go there and talk. You’re competitive when you’re in the ring, but throwing brings everybody together no matter where you’re at.”

There is no doubting Budd’s competitiveness in the ring, Barrett said.

“She has a high passion, and that’s something that’s hard to coach,” he said. “She has a passion to be at a higher level.”

The athletic training major has two more years to build on her improvement. Of the six throwers ahead of her in the Conference USA standings, five are seniors, which means Budd represents the next wave of elite throwers in the league. She might not have to wait long to join the top tier in C-USA.

“If it all connects – hopefully by indoors – she could add 7 or 8 feet from what she was,” Barrett said. “She has major potential in the weight room and her biggest passion is her desire to be elite. She has everything she needs to make that next big jump.”