Valerie Green is willing to try pretty much any event Talawanda High School track and field coach Paul Stiver asks her to do, and she’s apparently capable of just about anything.
Admittedly a more serious volleyball player, the junior also has become quite the track and field star.
Just a few meets into the season, Green leads the Southwest Ohio Conference in the high jump and discus events and ranks fourth in the shot put and 100 hurdles — an event she did just to fill a four-person shuttle relay earlier this week. She was the SWOC Athlete of the Year in volleyball last fall and is committed to play at Auburn University.
“It’s obvious she’s a very good athlete, and track and field has a place for good athletes,” Stiver said. “She did track in middle school and stuck with it because she was obviously good at it and it was a good complement to volleyball. It’s hard these days to get athletes to play multiple sports, especially top-level athletes, so we are happy to have her on the team, and she’s willing and able to do just about anything to help the team.”
Last fall, Green helped the Braves volleyball team to a 20-4 finish and SWOC championship while amassing 286 kills, 212 digs, 66 service aces and 28 blocks as an outside hitter.
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Track and field, she said, has been her “fun break from volleyball,” which she plays year-round. Though it’s not often to see such a versatile thrower, she was drawn to the field events in middle school and found she was “pretty much good at all of them.”
By eighth grade she had the technique in high jump and discus down, and the two have been her best events. She holds the school record in the high jump at 5 feet, 4 inches, and is less than seven feet from the discus record of 121 feet after a winning mark of 114-1 at the Eaton Relays on Tuesday.
“I’m only two meets in, and I’ve improved in the disc both times and jumped 5-4 the first meet,” Green said. “You get better at the end of the year, so I’m already at the level I was at the end of last year and still have time to improve.”
Green tied the school’s high jump record at 5-2 in 2015 as a freshman and finally hit 5-4 last year to break it.
She was second in the SWOC for high jump behind Edgewood’s Hannah Bush, who led with a 5-6, but Green is hoping to reach that height and maybe even get to 5-8 on a good day this season. Her best mark in discus was a 105-0 last year, when she was a SWOC honorable-mention selection, and Stiver said she hasn’t reached her full potential yet in either event.
In the meantime, it’s been fun to witness her progress, he said.
“She’s comfortable and confident, and she’s just kind of grown into her body more,” Stiver said when asked about the improvement from last year to now. “She’s not gotten bigger. She’s just more comfortable with who she is as an athlete. Experience is a great thing in sports, and she has lots of that. She just gets better and better as she goes.”
Her third event, the shot put, isn’t too shabby either. She owns a season-best mark of 30-2, which is one inch better than her 2016 season best.
Stiver said she does well in that without having mastered the technique.
“As far as shot put, she’s 6 feet tall and has long arms and enough power that even if her technique is not great, she’s going to be successful,” Stiver said. “It’s an area she can help us to place higher as a team.”
Green’s happy-go-lucky approach, as Stiver calls it, has helped the team in many regards. While she could be focusing on one or two events at meets, Green enjoys the ability to fill in where needed.
That said, her attention remains on getting better in high jump, which she feels gives her the best chance at getting to state. She’s been eyeing a trip to Columbus the past two seasons and came up short, and she’s determined not to miss out this time.
“I’ve been eighth in regionals the past two years and it’s kind of annoying because I want to go to the next level,” she said. “In high jump, I just have to consistently get 5-6. Once I get there, I should be fine to go to state. If I really put my heart into it, I could get there in discus too, but I think my best chance is in high jump. I just need to tweak a few things here and there, and then we’ll see what happens.”