At smaller schools, it’s not uncommon for the best student-athletes to compete in several different sports, with the best eventually focusing on the one they do best. For North Surry senior Brooklyn Woodbury, that realization came before she ever put on a Greyhound uniform.
Woodbury was an eighth-grader at Gentry Middle School and already a member of the school’s volleyball and basketball teams when she decided to add a spring sport to her repertoire.
“In my eighth-grade year, I did every sport that I could,” she recalled. “I was already playing volleyball and basketball. I tried track and I really liked it, and I stuck with it.”
Woodbury proved to be a natural in the field events, and competed for Gentry and then for North Surry in the shot put and discus throw for the next five years. Her abilities in these events often gave the Lady Hounds an advantage, as many teams at the 1A and 2A levels don’t have competitors in the girls’ field events. She qualified for regional competition in 2015 and 2016 and was named All-Western Piedmont Athletic Conference in the shot put this spring.
Along the way, she drew interest from a number of colleges and universities who asked her to consider joining their track teams following graduation. On Wednesday morning, she signed a letter of intent to compete for Methodist University next year.
“(Methodist) was one of the colleges that wanted me for track,” she said. “I visited the school and I liked what I saw. I liked how quiet the campus was and how small it was.”
The Lady Monarchs compete in the USA South Conference of NCAA Division III, but often participate in meets that involve much larger colleges and universities. Included on the team’s 2016 schedule were meets at Division I schools NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T, George Mason, Liberty and Elon.
Woodbury will join a young women’s track team at Methodist that competed this spring with no seniors and only one junior, and just one athlete who competes in field events. She said they plan on entering her in not only in the shot and discus, which she competed in at North Surry, but also in the other throwing events that are part of the traditional Olympic program.
“They want me in all of the throwing events,” she said. “I’ll be competing in the shot put, the discus, the hammer and the javelin.”
Her coach with the Lady Hounds said that Woodbury has a trait that should serve her well in collegiate competition.
“She likes competition,” NSHS track coach Janice Simmons said. “She likes being pushed, and it makes her work harder. There was another female shot putter this year. Whenever she got better, it seemed like Brooklyn responded, and found a little bit more in herself.”
Woodbury also continued her basketball career at North Surry, and was a member of the varsity team in her junior and senior seasons, both of which ended with the Lady Hounds as conference champions.
In her senior season, Woodbury was one of only seven players who appeared in all 29 games after being an end-of-the-bench reserve the season before. Some of her best performances of the season came against the Lady Hounds’ arch-rivals Mount Airy and Surry Central. Still, there was no question where her true sports calling lay.
“I stuck with track and basketball in high school,” she said, “but track is my favorite.”
She plans to major in Human Health Sciences at Methodist, and is excited to graduate and move on to compete for the Lady Monarchs, but she will miss her teammates at North Surry.
“I’m looking forward to moving on and seeing what the college life is all about,” she said. “I enjoyed helping my teammates get better at throwing and the other events, and encouraging them to do better.”
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.