Graduate reaches goals through hard work: Kate Battaforyen learns new ways to succeed

Kate Battaforyen

Kate Battaforyen had to trust in herself to rise to the top of her sport.

The member of the Lakeville North High School class of 2019 joined the school’s track team as a thrower as a junior after a coach convinced her to give it a try.

Almost from the beginning Battaforyen was good enough at throwing the discus and shot put that she started earning her team points at meets.

“I told him: ‘OK, I will try it,’ ” she recalls. “He was right, I was good. Then he told me: ‘You were wasting your time thinking you weren’t going to be good at it.’ ”

The rest of the season, she worked on her technique and training as much as she could, finishing in the top 20 of the conference in both discus and shot.

With two top senior throwers graduating from Lakeville North in 2018, the 2019 season was wide open for her to lead the team.

“At every meet, I would try to set a goal for myself, the coaches kept pushing me to try some different throwing techniques,” she said, as she took a “nothing to lose” attitude.

One of the biggest changes she made was going from gliding to spinning in shot put. Gliding has athletes taking one step before launching the shot, while spinning requires much more footwork in a more than 360-degree spin in the circle.

“When I ended gliding and started spinning, I’m short and I was scared of falling out of the circle,” she said. “When I started spinning, it was a huge difference.”

About a third of the way through the season, Battaforyen had an off day with gliding and her coach asked her if she’d be willing to spin after having done it only in practice.

She wanted to go better than the state honor roll mark of 35 feet in the shot. Her second attempt using the spin technique landed 37-feet-2.5.

“I didn’t think I could do that,” she said, saying her coaches always have done a great job of calming her down and using her adrenaline to her advantage.

Even though she was comfortable with gliding, she said she had some alignment problems that prevented her from throwing her best.

When she went to spinning, she said there were many more drills, using metal bars with the aim to get her to turn faster and throw farther. She still says there are good and bad days in spinning.

At sections, she had a good day and tossed it 39-7.

Her distances improved too in the discus. When she started throwing as a junior, she was tossing it 101-2.

After getting a state-qualifying throw of 131 feet, at the state meet last weekend she tossed the disc 128-5 to place fifth in Class AA.

“It’s about dedication,” she said. “I see all the other people as I look around me, they all had to start from somewhere. They didn’t quit either.”

She said her parents, Shirley and Beyan, have been a big support for her throughout all of her endeavors, even though they had never seen a female throw a shot before.

Battaforyen knows she’s part of a long tradition of state-qualifying throwers in Lakeville.

She said one of the throwers she follows on Instagram is Lakeville High School alumna Liz Podominick, a five-time individual state track and field champion (four shot put, one discus) and once held the state shot put record.

Battaforyen said she had a chance to meet Podominick at a meet this year.

“She told us we should apply ourselves and do what we can to improve,” Battaforyen said. “It was cool to meet her. … She said if you set goals in your mind, you can accomplish anything and be as good as her.”

Setting and achieving goals is something Battaforyen has been doing in track and field, on the volleyball court and in the classroom.

She started playing on the Lakeville North volleyball team in her sophomore year on the junior varsity team, but she wanted to get on varsity.

During the next summer she worked on her skills and the mental side of the game in order to play varsity the following year.

“I wanted to keep playing and I didn’t want being on the JV team to be the end of my career,” she said. “I spent that summer working on my game in order to help the team be successful. It is good to know that I’m capable of setting goals for myself and achieving them.”

Battaforyen will attend Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn., this fall.

There she will study sports physical therapy and compete on the track and field team as a thrower.

She said she thought about playing volleyball in college, but determined she would be more beneficial to her future team in track and field.

In addition to throwing shot and discus in college, Battaforyen will be able to compete in the hammer throw.

“Southwest was the right place,” she said. “It has one of the best programs around, and think I could be pushed to do a lot better by the coaches there.”

As for her major, she likes the idea of blending the knowledge of physiology and psychology to help people perform their best.

“I want to work with athletes,” Battaforyen said. “I feel I can relate to them as they are like me.”

Battaforyen’s dedication and skill in sports has also transferred over the classroom.

She said she likes to set goals for herself in her coursework and work hard toward them as she does in sports.

“With all the people I have encountered, I know there is someone who doubted me, but I have to keep doing what I know I can do,” she said. “I have some friends I can turn to for advice. Lakeville has been a huge help to me for becoming the person and athlete I want to be.

“It still hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be graduating. I am going to miss everything about North – the teachers, sports, my family and coaches and track family. I will take my legacy with me, but I know I can call my old coach anytime.”

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@ecm-inc.com.

Graduate reaches goals through hard work

Kate Battaforyen learns new ways to succeed

by Tad Johnson

Sun Thisweek

Dakota County Tribune

    Kate Battaforyen had to trust in herself to rise to the top of her sport.

    The member of the Lakeville North High School class of 2019 joined the school’s track team as a thrower as a junior after a coach convinced her to give it a try.

    Almost from the beginning Battaforyen was good enough at throwing the discus and shot put that she started earning her team points at meets.

    “I told him: ‘OK, I will try it,’ ” she recalls. “He was right, I was good. Then he told me: ‘You were wasting your time thinking you weren’t going to be good at it.’ ”

    The rest of the season, she worked on her technique and training as much as she could, finishing in the top 20 of the conference in both discus and shot.

    With two top senior throwers graduating from Lakeville North in 2018, the 2019 season was wide open for her to lead the team.

    “At every meet, I would try to set a goal for myself, the coaches kept pushing me to try some different throwing techniques,” she said, as she took a “nothing to lose” attitude.

    One of the biggest changes she made was going from gliding to spinning in shot put. Gliding has athletes taking one step before launching the shot, while spinning requires much more footwork in a more than 360-degree spin in the circle.

    “When I ended gliding and started spinning, I’m short and I was scared of falling out of the circle,” she said. “When I started spinning, it was a huge difference.”

    About a third of the way through the season, Battaforyen had an off day with gliding and her coach asked her if she’d be willing to spin after having done it only in practice.

    She wanted to go better than the state honor roll mark of 35 feet in the shot. Her second attempt using the spin technique landed 37-feet-2.5.

    “I didn’t think I could do that,” she said, saying her coaches always have done a great job of calming her down and using her adrenaline to her advantage.

    Even though she was comfortable with gliding, she said she had some alignment problems that prevented her from throwing her best.

    When she went to spinning, she said there were many more drills, using metal bars with the aim to get her to turn faster and throw farther. She still says there are good and bad days in spinning.

    At sections, she had a good day and tossed it 39-7.  

    Her distances improved too in the discus. When she started throwing as a junior, she was tossing it 101-2.

    After getting a state-qualifying throw of 131 feet, at the state meet last weekend she tossed the disc 128-5 to place fifth in Class AA.

    “It’s about dedication,” she said. “I see all the other people as I look around me, they all had to start from somewhere. They didn’t quit either.”

    She said her parents, Shirley and Beyan, have been a big support for her throughout all of her endeavors, even though they had never seen a female throw a shot before.

    Battaforyen knows she’s part of a long tradition of state-qualifying throwers in Lakeville.

    She said one of the throwers she follows on Instagram is Lakeville High School alumna Liz Podominick, a five-time individual state track and field champion (four shot put, one discus) and once held the state shot put record.

    Battaforyen said she had a chance to meet Podominick at a meet this year.

    “She told us we should apply ourselves and do what we can to improve,” Battaforyen said. “It was cool to meet her. … She said if you set goals in your mind, you can accomplish anything and be as good as her.”

    Setting and achieving goals is something Battaforyen has been doing in track and field, on the volleyball court and in the classroom.

    She started playing on the Lakeville North volleyball team in her sophomore year on the junior varsity team, but she wanted to get on varsity.

    During the next summer she worked on her skills and the mental side of the game in order to play varsity the following year.

    “I wanted to keep playing and I didn’t want being on the JV team to be the end of my career,” she said. “I spent that summer working on my game in order to help the team be successful. It is good to know that I’m capable of setting goals for myself and achieving them.”

    Battaforyen will attend Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn., this fall.

    There she will study sports physical therapy and compete on the track and field team as a thrower.

    She said she thought about playing volleyball in college, but determined she would be more beneficial to her future team in track and field.

    In addition to throwing shot and discus in college, Battaforyen will be able to compete in the hammer throw.

    “Southwest was the right place,” she said. “It has one of the best programs around, and think I could be pushed to do a lot better by the coaches there.”

    As for her major, she likes the idea of blending the knowledge of physiology and psychology to help people perform their best.

    “I want to work with athletes,” Battaforyen said. “I feel I can relate to them as they are like me.”

    Battaforyen’s dedication and skill in sports has also transferred over the classroom.

    She said she likes to set goals for herself in her coursework and work hard toward them as she does in sports.

    “With all the people I have encountered, I know there is someone who doubted me, but I have to keep doing what I know I can do,” she said. “I have some friends I can turn to for advice. Lakeville has been a huge help to me for becoming the person and athlete I want to be.

    “It still hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be graduating. I am going to miss everything about North – the teachers, sports, my family and coaches and track family. I will take my legacy with me, but I know I can call my old coach anytime.”

Tad Johnson can be reached at tad.johnson@ecm-inc.com.

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