Last-second decision leads to record-breaking career for Marie Lumpkin

Senior Marie Lumpkin attempts to throw the hammer in a practice session on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. DN PHOTO ALLYE CLAYTON
Senior Marie Lumpkin attempts to throw the hammer in a practice session on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. DN PHOTO ALLYE CLAYTON

Indoor Top Performances

Weight Throw - 60'-10.5"  (18.55m)

Shot Put - 36’-5.5” (11.11m)

200m Dash - 28.85

Outdoor Top Performances

Hammer Throw - 181’9” (55.40m)

Discus 1 - 43'-11" (43.87m)

Shot Put - 37'-11.5" (11.57m)

200m - 29.84

Senior thrower Marie Lumpkin holds Ball State's indoor weight throw record, but it wasn't until her last month at Union High School in Losantville when she realized she would compete in collegiate track and field.

Lumpkin said she was approached by former Cardinal coach Randy Heisler's son, who convinced her to try out for Ball State's track and field team.

"I talked to him ... he said 'Why wouldn't you come?'" Lumpkin said. "I kind of thought about it, and I never will have that experience again so I thought, 'Why not?'"

She set the Ball State record in indoor weight throw with a distance of 60 feet, 10.5 inches (18.55m) on Dec. 5, 2015. She also recorded the second-best individual distance in program history in the outdoor hammer throw with a distance of 181 feet, 9 inches (55.40m), which earned an automatic qualification in the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships in late May. 

In high school, she competed in discus and shot put because Indiana high school track meets don't feature the weight or hammer throw, so she redshirted during her freshman year to learn the two new events.

"Picking up the weight the first time was like, 'Oh my god, I have to swing this over my head,'" she said.

At Ball State, assistant track and field coach Stephen Krupa has helped Lumpkin with her technique this season. He said Lumpkin has a shot at qualifying for the NCAA East Preliminary Round in late May.

"The future's unclear, but we know we want to make it to Florida," Krupa said. "[Lumpkin] is in a unique situation where she never really knows where her season will end."

Outside of redshirting her freshman indoor season, Lumpkin also sat out of her 2014 outdoor season. Since she began throwing for Ball State in 2012, she has beaten her season bests each year. 

While her original goal wasn't to break records, she admits that her mindset has changed as she's gotten older.

“Getting into my sophomore and junior year, I kind of thought about it," Lumpkin said. "Before I leave, it is my main goal to get that hammer record and hopefully make Regionals."

Lumpkin and the rest of the track and field team will compete on April 15-16 in the Ball State Challenge.


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