PROVIDENCE – “You have a few more feet in you.” Those words were meant to challenge Nicolette Ducharme after she captured the indoor shot put title this past February, her throw traveling 39 feet, 6.75 inches.
Fast forward to this past Saturday as Ducharme officially turned a declarative statement into the fulfillment of a prophecy.
The decision to overhaul her throwing technique in the days leading up to her final meet as a RIIL competitor was rewarded with a most satisfying result in her top event. Ducharme’s best throw in the shot put was marked off at a personal-best 42 feet, 3 inches.
It was high times for the 2021 Cumberland High School graduate who’ll be continuing her throwing career at Brown University. Her desire to eclipse the 40-foot mark was met with satisfaction – along with the first of two state titles she won at Conley Stadium. With a throw that traveled 121 feet, 5 inches, Ducharme took home top honors in the discus.
“It feels so surreal right now,” said Ducharme. “I didn’t expect this.”
Ducharme set a PR in all three events she entered Saturday. Technically, she tied Lincoln High senior Hayley Chartier in the hammer – both traveled 115 feet, 10 inches. Since Ducharme’s next-best throw was better than Chartier’s, the former was awarded third place while the latter took home fourth.
The gear that Ducharme unlocked in the shot put prompted her to let out a yell. The reaction was a vast departure from someone who is laser focused every time she steps into the throwing circle.
“I was so happy,” said Ducharme.
“If I had to guess, I would say it was the adrenaline of being at another state meet,” said Cumberland throws coach Ricky Goodreau. “The fact that we were finally able to crack that 40-foot mark in the shot put … she’ll probably ride on that high for at least the next few months. Mentally and athletically, she’ll be motivated to keep going when she gets to Brown.”
In the days between the Ohio-based meet she participated in on June 19 and the R.I. state meet, Ducharme switched her approach in the shot put.
“It was actually a pretty big transition – and a last-minute decision,” Goodreau explained. “She switched to the rotational from the glide. She had been gliding all year and was comfortable with it. There’s still more potential for her in the glide.
“She was throwing nearly 40 feet each time during practice,” Goodreau added. “We made the call to give the rotation a try. From there, it was little tweaks … moving the ball to where it is on her neck. She made it work.”
Understandably, Ducharme had some reservations heading into the state meet. The glide had a comfortable feel, yet the rotational had a warm and familiar aura to it.
“[The glide] ended up treating me very well,” said Ducharme. “I’m hyped.”
Ducharme achieved her PR in the shot put on her next-to-last throw. She carried that momentum into the discus where her margin of victory was nearly eight feet in the clear of Cranston East’s Samantha Sainristil.
“That was pretty crazy too,” said Ducharme. “I’m satisfied, but I’m always pushing for more.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03