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Lakeridge's Rabing wins Gatorade track award

She is named Oregon's top track athlete for 2015 after winning two state titles this spring


MATTHEW SHERMAN - Maddie Rabing won the state shot put and discus championships for Lakeridge High School this season.At this year's Three Rivers League district track meet, there were larger than usual crowds assembled on the south side of field. That's where the girls shot put and discus events would be taking place and the TRL happened to feature a large contingent of the best female throwers in the state.

And the crowd certainly got its money's worth with five TRL throwers qualifying for state in each event. But if onlookers were hoping for a close finish, they were out of luck as the outcome was virtually never in doubt.

Maddie Rabing has been one of the best track and field athletes in Oregon since her freshman year and she capped a historic season this spring with a pair of dominant victories in the shot put and discus in Eugene.

That followed a state title in the shot put and a second place showing in the discus her sophomore year which helped the Pacer girls team to its first state title in the sport.

For her efforts this season, in which she set PRs in both of her best events and was virtually untested in most of her meets, she was also awarded with the Gatorade Oregon Track and Field Player of the Year honor.

Rabing has always been a strong athlete, participating in track, soccer and basketball as a kid. Her father was a distance runner which peaked her interest in track early on.

“It's funny because it will be in the middle of my event and my dad will go 'Oh, I need to go watch the 1500, I'll be right back,'” Rabing said.

In elementary school and junior high, Rabing tried a little bit of everything, running the 3000 one week and the 400 the next.

However, in junior high, it became apparent that she had a natural talent in the throwing events.

Rabing would eventually drop soccer but continued playing basketball in high school along with track. She continues to be one of the school's most versatile athletes. On the basketball court, she is a fearless rebounded and post presence but it also one of the team's better ball handlers with three-point range.

“Basketball definitely helps keep me in shape and it's also a nice change of scenery,” Rabing said.

And while she was an immediate standout in the shot put and discus, she was a valuable contributor in an array of events.

Rabing was a solid sprinter for the Pacers and also a member of its 4x400 relay team. But, as she continued to thrive in the shot put and discus, scoring in both of those events at state as a freshman, she dropped the running events due to the time constraints of the meet.

Her sophomore year, Rabing entered as a strong state contender in her two best events. She ran the table in league events and won the shot put at state with her second-best throw of the season.

In the discus, Rabing finished just six inches off of her PR and finished in second place.

But any disappointment in not doubling at state in 2014 was tempered by Lakeridge's dramatic state title victory as a team.

“That was really exciting. The coaches thought we had a chance at the beginning of the season but it came down to the last event and we knew exactly who we needed to finish in front of,” Rabing said.

Her junior year, she entered as the odds on favorite to win both events and never wavered. Rabing went unbeaten in the shot put and discus at every meet. At districts, she set a PR in both events which included an incredible toss of 47'10” in the shot put.

She would improve her mark again in the discus at state, throwing 144 feet even and winning both state titles easily.

“It's just six throws per event plus some warm-ups and you don't always have a coach around so you have to know how to coach yourself,” Rabing said.

In the summer, Rabing continues to compete in Junior Olympic events and has recently been focusing much more on the hammer throw, an event not offered at the high school level in Oregon.

“You pretty much work out all year. In the fall and winter you do a lot of heavy lifting before tapering off before the high school season and you're always working on technique,” Rabing said.

She is a highly coveted athlete by numerous colleges and hopes to make her decision by next fall after some of her official visits.

Until then, Rabing still has another year to continue to raise the bar. Capturing two more state titles doesn't seem like a lofty goal, nor does bettering her school records which seem likely to remain for a long time.

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