By Andrew Garda
Junior shot put and discus thrower Shelby Bigsby has impressed her coaches and teammates each week. Most recently, she placed first in both the shot put and discus competitions at the Essex County Tournament, which helped vault her team to a county title.
For Bigsby, it’s as important that her teammates excel as it is for her to win herself.
“We all root each other on and support each other,” she said after the Essex County Meet. “I may not know the best time in the 100, but trust and believe I’m over there cheering for whoever is running it. We all have equal support for each other and we’re all making sure everyone does their best through practice, meets, dual meets … we always support each other.”
Track and field head coach Sophie Wallace has been impressed with her and feels Bigsby has really grown since freshman year.
“Shelby brings intensity. Shelby brings motivation. She even brings intimidation, not just for the competitors but for her own teammates,” Wallace said after the County Title win. “Sometimes I think her teammates are “oh my gosh, she throws so far” but I think … they’ve understood it as encouragement and motivation.”
Bigsby, who intends to throw in college and, perhaps beyond, took a few minutes after the Essex County Tournament to sit down for a little chat.
How did you get into throwing? In seventh grade, I was a little chunky. My doctor was like “Look, you gotta lose weight or there’s gonna be some bad things happening” so my coach — Coach Webster — he put me into running. But I wasn’t really a runner. So he put a shot in my hand and it was kind of love at first sight
When not throwing heavy objects, do you have a favorite hobby? I love reading, and I just love spending time with my family and friends. That’s the best way to just relax and take my mind off competition.
Do you have a favorite book? I kind of just pick up a book and think “Wow, this seems really good,” and then I read that. I do love sci-fi. It’s so interesting, just like the different aspects of it.
Do you have a favorite TV series? I love “Bates Motel.” It’s like, mystery, drama together.
Do you have a favorite subject? My favorite subject is English because we do a lot of different genres. I really like that. I guess my most favorite class is African-American literature because you learn so much you don’t usually learn in a normal 11th-grade honors history class. I love that class.
Do you have a favorite type of music? Rap music, hip-hop, and R&B — from like the ’90s all the way to now, I do love all genres of music, even a little bit of country. Really, I’ll listen to whatever I’m in the mood for.
Is there a movie you really love to watch? I really love “The Help” with Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. That’s my favorite movie. I’ve watched it a thousand times.
If you can have three people to dinner, who would they be? Harriet Tubman — I’ve always loved her ambition. I would have Beyoncé. I think she’s a really influential person. And Martin Luther King Jr. I really liked that he took risks no matter what the cost was because he believed in it.
Who inspires you in your life? The people who inspire me the most are my parents — especially my dad, because he pushes me to go forward. My friends because they support me no matter where I am. I’m in North Carolina in Nationals and they FaceTime me and they always say “2020” and “I can’t wait to see you in the Olympics.” And my coaches, Coach Pelle and Coach Wilson, because not only do they coach me here but they help me in life and make sure I’m on the right track. It’s very rare to find coaches who aren’t just physically making sure you’re OK, but you’re OK in other aspects of your life.