CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - The ‘Canes women’s track and field team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Coral Gables, thanks in part to a freshman who is looking to be a first from the U.
Debbie Ajagbe is hoping to do something no ‘Canes thrower has never done before.
“I feel like I have a lot more in me throws-wise,” she said, “not just, like, 2020, but maybe 2024 and so forth, so if I can go on to pursue that, that’s something I do want to do.”
She’s talking about the Olympics, and Ajagbe would be the first University of Miami thrower — male or female — in the Summer Games.
Ajagbe is a four-time state high school champion from Ransom Everglades in the shots and discus. She has just started to throw the hammer, and she hit the fourth best mark in UM history at the ACC Championships.
“A good throw is when everything kind of starts to line up together,” she said, “like, everything doesn’t feel like you’re working too hard. Everything just flows perfectly, and the hammer, I do three turns. I spin three times, and I release the hammer.”
Timing and a smooth flow to the movements is key for the young athlete.
“In a way, you need to have some discipline that a ballerina does to be body-aware and know where your foot’s going, where your body’s going throughout the throw,” said Ajagbe.
In other words, she can’t be robotic — even though someday she wants to work on robots as she pursues her degree in biomechanical engineering.
“To have my coach explain stuff to me, it’s, like, all physics-based,” said Ajagbe. “Like, ‘You have to use momentum,’ and, ‘You have to make sure your axis is aligned when you’re throwing.’ The way we talk to each other is very physics-based in how the disc or the hammer is supposed to fly.”
“Throwers are wired differently,” said UM Associate Head Coach Cory Young. “She wants for it to happen right now, and her better throws are when she lets it happen naturally and lets everything take over, but that’s part of the learning process. I have to go at times and say, ‘She’s still a freshman.'”
Ajagbe is already one of the top throwers in the ACC. By doing three events, she only needs one to be the best in the U.S. and make the Olympic team.
“For me, definitely, that is a dream that I have, and hopefully I get to pursue that,” she said.
Ajagbe finished third for the bronze medal in the shot put, a personal best throw and the third best of all time at the U for a female thrower. She also finished in the top seven in both the hammer and discus to be named to the All-ACC Track & Field Team.
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