Triway seated athlete Sammy Rhodes has a passion for competing, whether it is the sprint races, distance events or throwing events in track and field.
Over the past several years Rhodes has racked up an impressive array of medals from the state OHSAA state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
As a freshman in 2015, Rhodes accumulated four third-place finishes in the 100-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter races and the shot put competition. In 2016 she took first in the 100, second in the 400 and 800, and second in the shot. Then as a junior she placed second in the 100, third in the 400, fourth in the 800 and second in the shot.
Sadly, as the 2018 state meet approached, Rhodes came down with pneumonia, and it looked like the illness would wash away any chance of her competing.
It was a major disappointment, but like any great athlete, Rhodes wasn’t about to give up all hope of taking her one final shining moment on the podium at state.
She somehow mustered the courage and strength to make the trek to Columbus, and on Friday, June 1, Rhodes pushed aside the effects of pneumonia and geared up for one final appearance at state. While she felt she didn’t have the energy and strength to compete in any of the races, what she could do was pour herself into the shot put.
Did she ever.
After unleashing a record throw of 19 feet, 1 inch in her third attempt to set the OHSAA girls seated athlete state meet record, she one-upped herself on her final throw, uncorking a heave of 19-01.75 to grab a gold medal and secure herself as the state record-holder in the shot.
Just as she has her entire life, Rhodes went out and proved that nothing can keep a person down if they simply won’t let obstacles stand in their way.
Because of that belief and her desire to succeed, she has left her mark on the OHSAA track and field record books.