Rachel Fatherly discovered throwing at a relatively early age because of her exceptional strength; starting in middle school. While she also played basketball, her early success in throwing is ultimately what led to her love of all things track and field. She was attracted to being the best and set her sights on a state championship early on.
While still only in her freshman year attending Williamsport High School, Fatherly won the district title in the shot put and went on to win districts in that event every year until she graduated. She was also successful in the discuss, winning districts multiple times as well.
Although her early success came somewhat naturally, she became hungry to be the best and dedicated herself to that aim, working as hard as possible. During her sophomore year she placed 5th in shot put at PA States, then 3rd in shot and discus her junior year. Her senior year she won outdoor PIAA State Championship in both the shot put and discus as well as the Penn Relays.
She also attributes much of the throwing success she achieved during her formative high school years to her coaches. “I worked with Jeff Strohl. He believed in my vision and worked with me for numerous hours throughout the week in order to help perfect my craft. Jeff Strohl and Maz Mazzante worked on my speed training and helped me transition that into the circle.”
Fatherly practiced with Strohl every day, including weekends. “He believed that we could win and invested so much into helping me achieve my goals.”, Fatherly said. Her high school personal record (PR) in shot put was 47’11” and discus was 140’.
Her success was not limited to throwing, as she strived to do well academically and maintain high honors so that she might one day throw at the college level. Ultimately Fatherly was able to throw for Penn State. Some of her accolades include:
• 2015 USTFCCCA Outdoor Mid-Atlantic Region Female Field Athlete of the Year
• PSU record holder for both indoor and outdoor shot put
• Qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic in the shot put finishing 22nd with a throw of 15.44m (50′-8″)
• Qualified for the 2016 NCAA East Preliminary in the shot put finishing 15th with a best mark of 15.85m (52′-0″)
• Qualified for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
• Finished as an 2016 NCAA Indoor All-American in the shot put with a best mark of 17.22 (56′-6″) to finish seventh
• Advanced to the 2015 NCAA East Prelims in the hammer throw and the shot put
• Finished 10th in the shot put at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with her throw of 54-8.25 • Second team 2015 NCAA All-American
Fatherly’s current goals include becoming a professional athlete and competing for a spot on the US Olympic Team. She aims to become one of the best female shot putters in the world and to medal at World’s and the Olympics. Her current PR’s are 18.48 meters (60.62 feet) in the outdoor shot and 18.44 meters (60.49 feet ) in the indoor shot, respectively.
Fatherly is grateful for all of the help she has had throughout her career. “I am thankful for the opportunity to represent God, Garage Strength, my family and community. I am thankful for Dane Miller. He is such a great coach and person. I am also so thankful for my parents. They support my dreams and will go above and beyond to help me. They have been my rock and foundation and I definitely would not be able to achieve any of my dreams without them. My mom in high school would sit at every single practice rain, snow, wind or shine and watch or retrieve my implements. My dad always attended all of my track meets and always provides such positive inspiration to help keep me motivated when I was tired, competition didn’t go as planned or I was upset. I can always count on a smile and a hug and I am truly thankful for the time that they invested in order to help me become who I am today and for that I am truly grateful. I am also thankful for my brothers; both of them were tremendous athletes. Growing up they taught me how to be tough, work hard and set goals. I also would like to thank my family, Antioch church family, fans and community for every congratulation, encouraging message, phone call or text, social media posts that they have made. It truly means a lot and I appreciate all of the support and love.”
When asked if she could offer any advice to young girls that are aspiring throwers or have some other goal, Fatherly said, “Follow your dreams and do not be afraid to work hard. Set big goals and hard work will pay off. The sacrifice that you make for something that you love is worth it. Find individuals who support you and believe in your dreams.
Last, just believe, when things get tough, know that you are strong enough to overcome any obstacle in your way.”
(For a more complete listing of Fatherly’s competitive resume go to: https://gopsusports.com/sports/track-and-field/roster/rachel-fatherly/7797 ).