Dominant in the shot put, Nikole Sargent of Flint Powers looks to rebound in the discus

Track and Field   | Bill Khan

Dominant in the shot put, Nikole Sargent of Flint Powers looks to rebound in the discus


Flint -- Nikole Sargent's introduction to putting the shot was underwhelming, to say the least.

Her father, Mike Sargent, was the Class A shot put champion for Flint Powers in 1984, so it was natural that he would find out if his athletically gifted daughter inherited some of his throwing ability.

It turns out she did, though she didn't recognize it at first.

"When I first threw the shot put in seventh grade," Sargent said, "I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, this is not for me. This is hard. I am not going to be good at this.' Then I went to my first meet and I ended up beating everyone by like 10 or 15 feet. I was like, 'OK, I guess I'll give it a shot.' That's when he really started working with me and said, 'You could be good at this.'

"It was something completely different than anything I'd ever done. I was a basketball player, a volleyball player, a soccer player. I was not a thrower, in my mind. Not until eighth grade did I think of myself as a thrower."

Even as she entered high school in the fall of 2012, track and field ranked low on Sargent's list of priorities. As a freshman she made the varsity basketball and volleyball teams at Linden before the track season started. As is the case for many athletes who compete in track and field, ball sports held a stronger attraction for Sargent.

"Basketball was the sport I thought I was going to go to in college," she said. "Volleyball took over in my mind my sophomore year. I was going to play really high-level volleyball, so I gave up basketball and focused on track and volleyball."

If Sargent was unaware of her potential in track and field, that changed after she took third in the shot put as a freshman at the Division 2 finals with a