Liberty County High School Lady Panther shot put and discus champion Courtney Bennett penned her name to a track scholarship for Jacksonville State University on Monday afternoon at the LCHS media center.
Bennett recently qualified for the state track meet, which starts Thursday in Albany, as the No. 1 seed in the discus with a throw of 131 feet, 2 inches.
She said she is excited about stepping out of the footsteps of her older brothers Aaron, Trier and Jovan Bennett, who all were exceptional track athletes in high school and earned football scholarships to Tuskegee University. “I am very excited and, yes, I have been following in their footsteps for a while,” she said. “It is good that I am branching off and doing my own thing. I am my own person now. I won’t be the Bennetts’ little sister anymore — I’ll be Courtney Bennett.”
She said the JSU campus felt like home and that she is ready to set school records. She will add the javelin throw and hammer throw to her track events in college.
“I am ecstatic actually,” she said. “I wanted to try something different and the hammer throw is really different. The javelin throw I did before when I was little. We don’t really have an offseason because we compete in indoor and outdoor track, and they said that when I get there they think I should be able to quickly break one the school records in my first year.”
Bennett said her personal best in the discus is 135 feet and 38 feet in shot put. She said the hammer throw involves more leg work, incorporating squats and firing from the quadriceps.
“The javelin and the hammer throw have a little bit more to it in than the spin of the shot put and the discus,” said her throwing coach, Steve White, who has coached Bennett for three years, primarily in the discus. “She needs to really focus hard ... and listen to the coaches.”
He said he also coached her brothers and offered her the same advice she gave them.
“Don’t slow down, go further and keep going,” he said.
Bennett said she wants to finish her high-school track career with a first-place finish at this weekend’s state meet. She said she is shooting for 140 feet for the discus throw and 38 feet in the shot put.