For junior thrower Yaneve Fonge, track and field is all about balance. It’s about finding that compromise between mental stability and physical talent, that equilibrium between individual improvement and communal change.

In the face of such a challenge, the microbiology and immunology major from Cheshire, Conn. has responded admirably, striking the perfect balance necessary for success.

Fonge snagged first place in both of her events this past weekend at the Syracuse University Invitational. Not only did her throws 11.81 meters in the shot put and 14.50 meters in the 20-pound weight throw help the Yellowjackets showcase a solid performance in the meet, but they also qualified Fonge for the upcoming Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.

How did you get started in track and field?
I played softball in high school and the coach at the time, who was also my math teacher, came into our classroom and said, ‘You look strong you should throw.” So I tried out my junior year of high school.

How is track and field in college different than it is in high school?
It’s really different, more individual for the most part. Last year there weren’t a lot of scored meets where each person was trying to go the farthest distance, but this year we have more scored meets, so it’s good to know that our team is very competitive for our division.

Have you tried any other events beside the shot put and weight throw?
In high school, I ran the 200 … It was high anxiety. Here at UR and in high school, I did the javelin and discuss throw. I also do the hammer throw in the spring.

What’s your favorite event?
I like the hammer. I have some technique issues with it, but it’s a unique case where I’m strong enough to overcome it.

How does training in practice affect technique and performance in meets?

We do [general] drills up until Wednesday and meet drills after that. We pick something to focus on, one aspect to make better for that week. So training affects what we focus on each week the goal is to improve one thing each week and the pieces will eventually fall together.

How do you focus on good technique? What do you tell yourself before you throw?
Each event has a different technique there are little things that can throw you off and cause your distance to be off. When I throw, I can’t really think about things. I breathe. If I think too much, I mess up. So I sing a song before I throw, I sing it until I start moving to clear my mind.

What kinds of songs do you sing?

I listened to Taylor Swift one week, Miley Cyrus the next Coach even had me listen to Kayne West one week … my coach tells me I’m my biggest enemy, and I agree with that at times.

What’s your favorite part about being on the track and field team?
My teammates they’re great. We’re always yelling for each other and we love to see each other do well. It’s a good comradery. Most people’s goal is to make it to States, but it’s an individual and a team sport you know what you need to work on but you also support your friends in their endeavors and help them achieve their goals.

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