Chiefs’ Metz wins indoor state championship

NASHVILLE — Amelia Metz is no stranger to success in track and field. She won multiple state championships before she ever got to high school. But a second-place finish in discus at last year’s TSSAA Class AA outdoor track and field championships was as close as she had gotten since.

Until now.

The Cherokee senior took gold in the weight throw at the Tennessee State High School Indoor Track Championships on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Vanderbilt University.

“That’s my first high school state championship, so it feels really good to have that,” Metz said. “I felt like I was going to do good because I was ranked first going into it. But there was a girl from Jefferson County that I thought might sneak up and get me.”

Metz said she was so focused on beating her personal record, she didn’t even know if she had won. She didn’t get the PR, but she did win the state championship with a mark of 12.86 meters. Jefferson County’s Elissa Longmire was second with a throw of 12.23.

Indoor track and field is not an officially recognized sport in the state of Tennessee. Athletes who qualify compete “unattached” or for club teams. In indoor, you have to have one of the top eight marks in Tennessee to compete in the state championships.

Now, Metz will set her sights on adding a TSSAA state championship in discus to her resume. Last spring, Metz finished second in discus at the Class AA outdoor track and field championships with a throw of 105-1.

In middle school, she won back-to-back state championships in discus at Rogersville City School.

“I’ve been training with Ballou Barrett since I was in fifth grade,” Metz said of the veteran personal trainer. He was the one who encouraged her to give throwing a try. She’s been hooked ever since.

“I went out and tried it and fell in love with it the first day, and just kind of fell into it from there,” said Metz, who today throws hammer, weight and disc. “It’s just fun chasing a goal, having a goal set out in front of you and wanting to beat it. It’s more of chasing yourself than anybody else.”

Barrett, who has trained some of the region’s all-time best in the throwing sports, turned Metz onto both weight and hammer.

“My favorite is hammer. It’s like a shot put on a longer guide wire. It’s completely different than disc. … I would say it’s a lot more technical than disc. I like hammer because I can use my speed. That’s one of my strengths in throwing, and I’m able to use that a lot more in hammer,” Metz said.

Cherokee track coach Chad Laster said the experience Barrett imparts with hammer has certainly helped area throwers receive numerous scholarship dollars over the years. “Many colleges have to recruit out of the country for hammer throwers. So, if they find somebody who already knows the basics of throwing the hammer that’s a huge plus,” Laster said.

Metz, who’s also an excellent student, has committed to Elon University. She said she chose it because the coach and team there have created “an atmosphere like I’ve never seen in a college program before.”

Having that decision out of the way will help Metz focus on the tasks at hand: improving her personal bests in hammer and discus — and getting back to the state outdoor championships.

“I still want to get back to the state championships and see how far I can go,” said Metz, who also plans to travel this spring to compete unattached in hammer.

“It can be difficult [to balance it all]. I’m very good at time management. Every week I sit down and strategically plan when my workouts are, when things are due for school and all of my outside activities. I’m on the go all the time, but it’s always fun. I like being busy,” Metz said.

And busy she is.

In addition to track and field, Metz is a member of the Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and National Society of High School Scholars at Cherokee. She also puts in countless hours of community service outside school as president of the Heritage Lites Youth Leadership Program and Miss Chamber of Commerce for Rogersville and Hawkins County.