Margo Britton learned her basic spinning techniques for shot put and discus in a dance studio.
“I have been dancing since I was a little girl – ballet, tap, jazz, modern – which you wouldn’t believe, because look at the size of me, right?” Britton said. “I am not your typical dancer.”
The dance floor, Britton said, was supposed to be haven for her weight loss.
“My mom thought that it would make me slim down,” Britton said. “It didn’t happen.”
“It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized the reason for my size,” Britton added. “The purpose for my size is for throwing. I was built like a thrower.”
Since arriving at Temple, the 6-foot-1-inch junior has broken the school record in discus and shot put on numerous occasions, securing her position as one of the top student-athletes in program history.
“I came in knowing what the other girls had thrown who preceded me,” Britton said. “I knew I had the potential to catch up with them. That was pretty much my goal coming in. I was going to keep my head down, stay humble, but my goal was to be throwing farther than them.”
The York, Pa., native’s longest throw coming into collegiate track & field was 44 feet, 4-inches, which won her a state championship in high school. Temple’s shot put record holder at the time was Alanna Owens’ 46-feet-8-inch throw during the 2011-12 indoor season. Former discus thrower Ebony Moore’s 151-foot throw record also remained.
Subsequently, Britton had to adjust to collegiate track & field, where the level of competition and talent increased dramatically. The Dallastown High School graduate credited former Temple throwing coach Jeff Pflaumbaum for her improvements.
“He completely deconstructed my throw,” Britton said. “He kept the good things that I did well, which is being explosive out the back and just my general strength, and fixed the things I needed help on, which was getting my hips through, my blocking arm, stuff like that.”
Britton opened up her first indoor season with a 45-foot throw in shot put, a vast improvement in an event where every inch counts. Britton continued to throw farther as the season progressed. At the Atlantic 10 Conference indoor championship, Britton took home the title with a mark of 49 feet, 2.25 inches.
Britton was crowned Rookie of the Year at the A-10 outdoor championships. A freshman at the time, Britton took a significant step forward when she broke Moore’s discus record with a mark of 162 feet, 3 inches. Britton broke her own shot put outdoor school record with a throw of 51 feet, 6.5 inches at the Penn Relays in 2012.
“After I hit 45 feet, it was from there I realized the potential I had,” Britton said. “In high school, I would watch girls or hear about girls who threw 50 feet and I would joke and say those girls are she-males. [I thought], ‘50 feet that is so far,’ and now I guess I am a she-male, according to my high school self, because I look at 50 feet like nothing now.”
During her sophomore year, Britton was a few inches away from her own shot put record with a mark of 51 feet, 3 inches. Nevertheless, Britton repeated as A-10 indoor champion with a shot put mark of about 49 feet.
The 2013 outdoor season proved to be Britton’s roughest stretch yet. As a sophomore, she suffered two ankle sprains in a matter of minutes ahead of the Texas Relay Invitational. Despite having to wear a boot for most of the season and going through rehab, Britton said she was determined not to miss any outdoor meets.
“I know in the weight room she would do a lot more stretches and in practice she was a lot more focused,” hammer thrower Justin Berg said.
Britton had a specific strategy that served her throughout the rest of the season.
“[I would] warm up before my event, take pain medication, put on my throwing shoes, threw, and then got back in my boot,” Britton said.
Britton went on to have a successful season. She placed second in both the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and the A-10 championship in the shot put, and second in the discus at the A-10 championship.
The junior has remained injury-free and finished within the Top 5 in each of the six meets of the 2012-13 indoor season. Britton has since qualified for the ECAC in March.
“We have been making strides, especially in the weight throwing,” coach Tamara Burns said. “She has been going up each week, in terms of getting a better mark each week. In the shot put, she is struggling a little bit, a slight disconnect with mechanics, but we are still making progress in that sense, too.”
Danielle Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.