Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hall Brings Home Gold Medal for Daughter

At the 2009 Atlantic Sun Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships, Jacksonville’s Ronnisha Hall became the first in meet history to win both the shot put and weight throw at the same championship winning both in record fashion. She did not defend her titles because she took a redshirt year for the 2010 season. However, she didn’t miss a year of competition because of any kind of injury, but rather to go through pregnancy with her daughter, Madison.

At the encouragement of her coaches and her teammates, especially the fellow Dolphin throwers, Hall rejoined team for the 2011 indoor season. Returning to the A-Sun Championships, Hall entered with the top mark in the shot put and the second-best distance in the weight throw.

“The team pushed hard; because they kept calling during the summer asking ‘Are you coming back? Are you coming back?’” she said. “They made sure I came back and finished, not only to come back to track, but also to finish school. The throwers group [urged hardest] because they mean a lot to me and they told me I made a big impact on them. ”

All mothers seek to regain the form they held prior to giving birth. For Hall, in addition to returning to form physically, she had to return to the athletic form that produced those two Indoor titles.

“[Returning] took time because at first I had hip problems and then after I got past that [injury], I had knee problems,” she said. “It was hard getting back into shape but I made it and it got me first place!”

For all student-athletes, balancing school work with time dedicated to their sport can often prove plenty taxing. Adding motherhood to daily responsibilities put a premium on Hall’s time. Luckily she had willing assistance by her side.

“The balance is so hard, it’s so hard,” Hall said. “Right now, she is staying home with my sister right now. When she’s…with me, my teammates really help me out with watching her while I go to class – they help babysit. It’s like I have 40 babysitters. I pay them with [time] with Madison, they love her, so that’s the price.”

On Friday, she lost out on the shot put by 0.38 meters as teammate, Hillary Crook, won the event for a third time. Hall took second in the event. On Saturday, Hall finally reclaimed the top spot at an A-Sun Championship turning in a record-setting throw in the weight toss of 18.96 meters on her final attempt of the meet.

She topped Campbell’s Jessica Dunston, the woman who entered the A-Sun Championship with the conference’s best mark of the season, by more than a meter. Hall’s Saturday-morning win jumpstarted an onslaught of individual victories scored by the Dolphins on Saturday, as they eased to a sixth-straight A-Sun Indoor crown.

“It was tough today, because I thought [Dunston] was going to get me,” Hall said after the victory. “I tried to qualify for Nationals, but as long as I got my [personal record] and did my best”

Hall has not performed in front of Madison yet, but when the Outdoor Championships head to Jacksonville and the campus of UNF, she’ll be able to perform in front of her youngest fan.

“She’s got her JU onesie, bibs, hats and everything,” Hall said. “She is ready to come and be my number one fan.”

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