Madison Pollard collected a lot of hardware during her high school days.
A lot has changed for Madison Pollard over the last couple of years: she graduated from high school in the spring of 2017, she started college a few months later and she moved away from the friendly confines of the Whitehouse, Ohio area as she headed over to Bloomington to continue her studies and her athletics career. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the fact that she's still a force on the throwing scene.
The many time Ohio high school state champion for Anthony Wayne hasn't missed a beat with the enhanced level of competition that the college ranks provides. Now a sophomore with the Indiana Hoosiers, Pollard has been climbing her school's list of all-time top performances and she hopes her initial success is just a gateway for bigger things to come.
Madison was gracious enough to afford MileSplit some time to talk about her experiences at IU, her goals for the future, her advice for young athletes and more.
Looking back at your high school career, what accomplishments are you the most proud of?
"Looking back at my high school accomplishments, I am most proud of my 6 state championship titles between indoor and outdoor in the shot put x3, discus x2 and weight x1. Also I am very proud of my 3 All-American performances (2nd, 4th, 5th) at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in hammer, shot and discus."
What have been some of the biggest highlights of your college career to this point?
"My biggest highlights of my college career to this point is throwing 177 feet in the discus as a red-shirt freshman. That put me 3rd all-time on the Indiana Hoosiers women's discus list. Also I am 5th all-time on the shot put list and 8th in the weight throw."
Discuss some of the challenges you faced regarding the transition from high school to college competition.
"The transition from high school to college competition was not extremely difficult for me. The main difference that I came to know was the level of intensity from meet to meet. Especially in the B1G Conference, the competition is crazy and I am pushed at a different level competitively than I was in high school. I also had to prepare myself mentally but regardless of who I compete against, I am always in a competition with myself to improve my distances because at the end of the day I can do nothing to change the result of my competitors."
"The aspect of my throwing that I think I have dialed in at this point is my overall comfort with my technique, especially in shot put and discus. My throws have become much more consistent and I am mainly focused on 2-4 cues. Also, my mental state has improved greatly. I am much more confident in myself and my technique when getting into the rings, which is huge. I think that I can improve in all aspects of my throwing. There are so many small pieces to throwing and I think that I will never be satisfied with my distances and technique. Each discipline has so many intricacies that there is no way that every aspect will be perfect. The challenge to try to master them all is really the joy of throwing."
Madison Pollard has record setting aspirations in mind.
What throwing-based goals do you have set for yourself?
"The throwing-based goals that I have set for myself are to keep improving on the technical aspects of my throws and to continue to build throughout the season with consistent marks. The main goal in mind is to be in the range of 17 meters in the shot. I also am looking to have a successful outdoor season with the discus, shot and hammer and I'm hoping to possibly see a discus school record for IU in my future. I hope to grow in my mental state, as well and keep my composure when in competition and only worry about myself and my performance."
What advice would you give to a young athlete who's passionate about throwing and who wants to improve?
"The advice that I would give to young athletes interested in throwing is to seek a private coach that knows what they are doing and can help them improve. I would also recommend YouTube videos of Olympians because they can really help with technique. I would tell them to stay patient when learning to throw and to stay diligent. Far throws won't happen overnight but with hard work and determination, you can go anywhere. Finally, I would tell them to never give up and to keep pushing for greatness!"
Can you speak to the fact that there are so many Ohioans on the Indiana Hoosiers roster. Does this provide you with a sense of familiarity and comfort? Kind of like a home away from home type of situation?
"Having multiple Ohioans on the Indiana roster is something fairly unique and is something that I can take pride in being from Ohio. After finding out that many people from Ohio that I have seen at meets were signing with IU I felt that I was not alone and was even more excited to go there. Having a sense of family when going away from home is very helpful and it made me more confident in making my decision. I love having so many familiar faces and I hope it continues to grow as my time here proceeds."