By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE – The day Madison Bower signed up for track she did not go directly to the 300-meter hurdles list. It in fact began as a joke. Now it has given her a chance to compete at the next level. Last Thursday she signed a national letter of intent, including a full-ride scholarship, to compete on Cal Poly’s track team next spring.
“I am really blessed,” Bower said. “It is really crazy how life works out, but I am very shocked and grateful.”
All of Bower’s career she has been a natural athlete. In the later part of her sophomore season she had established herself as a solid 400-meter runner, so sprinting coach Scott Bowser took notice. While her form jumping over the hurdle resembled that of a swimmer competing in the butterfly rather than a hurdler Bowser recognized the talent.
“We have a tradition here at Strathmore with us dominating our league over the years,” Bowser said. “Her athletic ability really stood out to me and she just happened to be good at it.”
At first Bower didn’t take the hurdles as seriously as the four hundred, seeing it as more of an exercise in getting more time on the track. It wasn’t until the start of her junior season she began to focus more on the event. Although her arms still flung out to the side, which can increase drag on a runner, her times began to fall. From the season’s first meet through the state championships she dropped a total of nine seconds off her time. At the Central Section Masters Championships, she clocked a personal record of 44.27 seconds. The time not only won her the meet, but it is still her best in the event. A couple weeks later Bower made her first appearance at the CIF State Championships. In the preliminary rounds she took 12th place with 44.72 seconds.
In order to achieve what she has Bower has had to overcome obstacles besides her form. The fact she had to learn the event on dirt and gravel surface being one of them. A few times Bower’s footing has slipped nearly sending her sliding across the dirt. While the fear of slipping is evident training on this surface has given her an advantage. It has forced her to be more aware and conscious of her footing than she might have been learning on an all-weather surface.
“No matter where you come from you have the potential to be great,” Bower said. “It does not matter if you run on a dirt track or all-weather track if you are willing to put your heart into it then you can achieve great things.
While Bower competed for the Spartans, under Coach Bowser and head coach Jeromy Blackwell, she has developed an attitude of excellence. The same attitude drew her to Cal Poly. When she met with Mustangs head coach Chris Baptista the knowledge which he had for the sport really shined through.
“He really knows how to fine tune workouts for each specific athlete,” Bower said.
However, the greatness will not only translate onto the playing surface, but in the classroom as well. Bower looks to study Kinesiology in hopes of becoming a pediatrician or physical therapist. Her field of study was also a deciding factor to choose Cal Poly over other schools.
“This is a school of excellence,” Bower said. “I am very excited to be a Mustang.”