Winning a national championship in track and field at the college level is an accomplishment in itself. Winning two is even better, and that's exactly what one Northern State University athlete can boast.
Senior Amanda Madden took home the hammer throw NCAA Division II indoor national title in March and the outdoor title last week. Closing in on the 200-foot mark in hammer throw, Madden has already worked her way into the school record books.
"Lifting and throwing and lifting and throwing, you know, repeat," Madden said.
And repeat she did until her two national titles this year, more than any NSU track and field athlete has ever received.
The hammer throw isn't offered as an event at the high school level, so she started learning it four years ago when she came to Northern.
"I was very un-coordinated right away and the coach got a pretty good laugh out of it but it's going good now," Madden said.
"Her work ethic is just unreal,” throwing coach Mariah Mougey said. “From the beginning, she's always been one to be there right at the beginning and stay longer and just want to keep throwing."
Mougey has been pleased with Madden's constant improvement over the past four years. This year she ranked eighth going into the indoor championships but walked away with a commanding top finish. She was ranked second going into the outdoor meet before winning it with a throw of 192 feet, seven inches.
Madden graduated from Northern this year so there won't be any more NCAA championships for her. But now she's training to qualify for the U.S. Championships.
"I didn't really know much about what comes after college,” Madden said. “I've been learning a lot so I just hope I can reach that goal too."
She needs to pass the 200-foot mark to qualify, something she's within five or six feet of doing right now.
"She added seven or eight feet a few weeks ago at a track meet so I think adding that much again is easily possible," Mougey said. ERICH SCHAFFHAUSER:
Is she better than you were? MOUGEY:
Yes, yes by probably 30 feet.
Madden is now working to widen that margin even more.
Madden was named to the first academic all district team Thursday. It's made up of athletes in a nine-state district who are chosen based on their athletic and academic achievements.