BINGHAMTON – Brooke Bonney has been spotlighted as this weeks Chenango County and Norwich alumni athlete who has graduated and continued to shine in an athletic field.
Brooke, now a sophomore in college, is a member of the Binghamton Bearcats Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field teams. During the indoor season she competes in the shot put and the 20lbs. weight throw events, while in Outdoor she is looking to compete in the shot put, hammer throw and discus.
Throwing has not always been a part of Brooke's life as she recounted how she originally happened to join Outdoor Track for the Norwich Purple Tornado some four years ago.
“I started track spring of sophomore year. Coach Horan did some pretty heavy recruiting during gym class. At that time I had just played my final season basketball and was looking forward to doing something for fun, I found basketball less rewarding and more of a "job,” said Bonney.
Norwich head Track and Field coach Shawn Horan recounted some first impressions and why he originally saw Brooke as a potential Track and Field athlete who could excel.
“I could tell she was a hard worker from day one. Even though Brooke was a thrower she would always be willing to help the team out any way she could. On more than one occasion I put her in events that she had never practiced she would never complain she would just do her best which was always awesome,” said Horan. “I remember recruiting her, a few of her classmates who were already on team had told me how fast And strong she was.”
Much as Horan alleged, Brooke was mainly an athlete who participated in the throwing events Track and Field had to offer, however, never shying away from a race or two if asked to help.
“Brooke was the complete package as an athlete, one that only comes along every ten years or so. She was fast and powerful, a real terror in the weight room. And she was intelligent too, the best part is she was just as happy when others did well even in her events, she is very humble.” said Throwers coach and weightlifting coach at Norwich high school Tom Stoddard. “I just knew by the fierce look in her eyes that she was special who could separate herself from others on shear will. I wanted so much for her to be uncommon meaning not to let the usual struggles of teenage life catch up to her, I wanted her to fight that off and be great and she is great.”
Bonney has solidified in the minds of her coaches but also, for at least the time being in the Norwich record books. Bonney broke the varsity girls shot put record for Indoor Track and Field, something that has since been broken again recently by Kaitlyn Shaver who threw 38 feet, 5 inches, who will be following Bonney's path to the New York State Tournament. Brooke graced the New York State Tournament four times in her high school career, medaling in three of those appearances.
Notably Brooke was a mere 3-inches away from Outdoor shot-put record, and broke and currently holds the Outdoor discus record at 122 feet.
“Section IV championships at Vestal high school my Junior year (spring 2013). I'd been throwing just under the school discus record for some time, but historically struggled psychologically when it came time to compete at a higher level. My final throw of 122 feet broke the school record, which was at the time 117 feet,” explained Bonney. “It was my first experience really achieving a long set goal of mine. I specifically remember sprinting back to the cage after retrieving my disc and leaping into Stoddard's arms. It was one of my fondest memories of high school, and looking back on it, it was when I realized how much I loved to throw and the joy it brought me.”
Four years later, now a sophomore at Binghamton University and having cell molecular biology as her major of study, Brooke continues to shine carrying what she learned in high school into the college level while constantly improving.
“Stoddard always used to tell be to ‘be uncommon’ before a big lift. I've really taken that with me to school, and its motivated me to break through stereotypical barriers about both athletics and academia,” said Bonney. “I'm a cell molecular biology major right now. I've really found a passion for science and understanding the intricacies of what makes us tick. Both Stoddard and Horan pushed their athletes to succeed in the classroom above all else, and thats a standard that I continue to abide by here at Binghamton.”
Brooke has been spotlighted as The Chenango County athlete for recently breaking the multiple Track and Field records. Brooke currently holds the freshman weight record at 16.12 meters and the overall school weight record at 58 feet five and three quarter inches; she is currently eighth in discus with a 119 foot, four inch throw; second in shot put with 42 feet, four and quarter inch throw; while bringing up a tenth place finish in the hammer throw with 135 foot and 10 inch throw.
Brooke noted her rigorous workout regimen in the weight room ever since her high school days a big success before saying, “That high is something that I think all athletes are familiar with, when they find their niche and really succeed. I'm just so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with teachers and role models like Stoddard and Horan, my experiences with them have been an incredible confidence booster and opened so many doors for me.”
At just a sophomore in college and the Outdoor Track and Field Season fast approaching, Brooke has her sites set on many more accomplishments to come.