Hartshorn signs with Neosho Co.
Sarah Hartshorn had to follow through with her promise.
A May graduate of Tonganoxie High, Hartshorn had plans her senior year of attending Pittsburg State after she graduated. The discus and shot put standout, however, planned not to continue her track career.
Then came the days leading to the state track meet.
THS throwing coach Chris Parkin negotiated a deal with Hartshorn. If Hartshorn threw well at the state meet, she would compete collegiately for at least one year.
Hartshorn placed second in the discus in Class 4A at state, so she pursued a college where she could continue her career.
On June 14, Hartshorn visited Neosho County Community College in Chanute. On June 16, she signed with the Panthers to become a thrower on their track team.
Of course, Hartshorn had to return to Tonganoxie after the initial visit to see whether Parkin approved.
"I had to get his kind of OK first, I felt like I needed that," Hartshorn said.
While at THS, Hartshorn made state appearances as a sophomore, junior and senior and competed in either shot put or discus at each state meet. Her second-place finish at state in the discus was her best at the state meet.
While visiting the NCCC campus, Hartshorn said she was impressed with the school's track facilities, as well as the coaching staff and its focus on track and academics.
"The facility where I'll be throwing is just awesome," Hartshorn said.
The Chieftain track standout also selected Neosho County for its strong throwing tradition. Hartshorn said the throwers "actually lead them more in track events."
"That's why I did go there," Hartshorn said. "They've had strong throwers."
Neosho County's head coach, Darin Schmitz, also coached at De Soto and Eudora. And, he threw in college for Kansas, where he was an all-Big 12 Conference thrower.
Hartshorn, meanwhile, didn't visit any other campuses. She said she had her heart set on Neosho County -- with Parkin's approval.
"It was kind of the one and I knew it," Hartshorn said. "It's a small community. It's like a step up from high school so I won't be nervous going into it."
All of Schmitz's sophomore throwers have gone on to earn scholarships at four-year colleges.
Hartshorn hopes she eventually can add her name to the list as well.
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