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Three time TMSAA state 'throwing' champ Biggs headed to Cherokee with high expectations

Jeff Bobo • Updated Jun 7, 2017 at 8:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — As a three-time middle school state track and field "throwing" champion, Rogersville's Katie Biggs is looking forward to the challenges of tougher competition that her high school career will bring.

But the recent Rogersville City School eighth-grade graduate is also setting her sights on a potential college career and beyond. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen her compete that some colleges are already setting their sights on her as well.

As a seventh-grader last year, Biggs earned a middle school state championship in discus and a state runner up in shot put, which she followed up last month with state championships in both events.

RCS track and field coach Michael Bowman said he's not aware of any Hawkins County middle school track athlete winning three state championships, but he predicts this is just the beginning for Biggs.

"I don't think that's ever been done, and the mark that she put up — she didn't have her best throws at state, but they were still 10 feet farther than second," Bowman said. "There was nobody really even close. An official came to me at the state meet and said she would be going to the state meet in high school right now with her throws, and she's only going to get bigger and stronger."

Bowman added, "She would definitely be a qualifier in the state meet at the high school level already, and I had several people at our state meet this year who are interested in looking at her as far as college. When she gets up to throw we all just sit back and marvel because all the other girls (in the competition) go, 'Are you serious? Is this even fair?' She's that far ahead of everyone else her age."

In August, Biggs begins her high school career at Cherokee High School, which has a tradition of producing strong track and field throwers.

Three of those throwers are currently competing at Division 1 colleges on scholarship, including Evan McCrackin at East Carolina University, Courtney Brooks at College of Charleston, and Savannah Marlow at the University of Tennessee.

One common denominator between those three college throwers and Biggs is personal trainer Ballou Barrett, who has been working with her for the past three years.

Barrett also trains RCS thrower Amelia Metz, who qualified for the state tournament last month as a sixth-grader, finished the season ranked eighth in state and was the top-ranked sixth-grade thrower in the nation.

"They're on my track team, but as far as throwing, Ballou is the master and deserves the credit," Bowman said. "Katie trains every day. She practices with the track team and works on speed drills. After she leaves me, she usually goes to Ballou's and works on technique. She comes to work every day in practice ... and sets the standard for the rest of the team."

Bowman added, "I think it all goes back to that earlier success of our students who earned college scholarships for throwing, and the younger kids noticed that and said, ‘I can be successful at this too and it can really take me places.’ They see those kids being successful and getting scholarships, and it inspires the younger kids to follow in their footsteps. And the lion's share of credit for that really goes to Ballou. I would put him up there as one of the top throwing trainers in this area."

Biggs told the Times-News on Monday she doesn't see Barrett as a coach. She said he is family and has molded her into the thrower and the person she is today.

"It's awesome to have somebody like that in my life," she said. "I have something that a lot of people do not have. I can do something a lot of people cannot do. I've been blessed with the support of family, coaches and the community."

Katie's ultimate goal is the Olympics, but she knows there are a few steps ahead of her to get to that point.

"Maybe one day I can make that dream a reality," she said. "But I definitely want to throw in college. I have no idea where that will be, but I'll find somewhere. I'm excited to see where that will be."

The first big step is entering high school competition as a freshman at Cherokee this coming school year where she knows expectations will be high.

"It's going to be different," Biggs said. "New people. New competition. I'll be competing with people who are a lot older than I am. It's a big challenge I'll have to take on, and I think I can do it."

She added, "A lot of it is coaching. Knowing what to do and when to do it. The other part is just desire and dedication to want to succeed."

Katie's dad, Todd Biggs, said she's got some natural ability but her success comes from hard work. During the off season, she works out five days per week, including two days of throwing with Barrett.

During the season she practices with the team after school and then spends another two hours throwing with Barrett.

Despite her hectic schedule, aside form being a star athlete, Biggs is a star student, earning straight A's.

"But she loves it," Todd Biggs said. "You don't have to tell her it's time to go to practice. She's telling you it's time to go to practice. She wants to go. She loves it, and that's what it takes to have the success she's had."                                                                 

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