ARCANUM – Arcanum senior Erica Zimmer committed to compete for the Otterbein University women’s track and field team on Wednesday afternoon.
Zimmer, the daughter of Kirk and Diane Zimmer, said she always knew she wanted to become a college athlete. During her high school years she found her passion in track and field and now has an opportunity to pursue that passion at the collegiate level.
“I know that I’ve always wanted to do athletics, even as like a freshman,” Zimmer said. “I thought I was going to do basketball, but that didn’t work out, and when I started doing track I figured out that this is really my passion and I really wanted to throw at the college level.”
Zimmer, who throws the shot put and discus for Arcanum, will continue to do both events at Otterbein. She’ll probably throw the hammer, too.
“I have no doubt that she’s going to do real well,” said Theo Whitaker, who coaches the throwers for the Arcanum track and field team. “She’s going to a school that she really likes, is going to go throw for a coach that she really likes, and she’s going to have fun. So really I see it being no different than she is here. She’s going to excel, and hopefully she really improves. Really, I’ve looked at some things online and she could go in right now and compete at a high level so it’s going to be interesting to see how she develops.”
Zimmer will study nursing in college and also will be a member of Otterbein’s marching band. She chose Otterbein because she enjoys the small town feel of the university, which is located in Westerville, and likes the Cardinals’ track and field program.
“I like the town a lot,” she said. “I like the atmosphere. It’s a small town, kind of like Arcanum. I really like the team atmosphere, too.”
During her collegiate career Zimmer hopes to become an all-American for Otterbein, which competes at the NCAA Division III level in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Last year the Cardinals finished second in the OAC.
But before she heads off to college Zimmer still has big goals for the remainder of her senior season.
After making it to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet as a junior in the shot put, she wants to make it back to state in shot and disc this year. She also hopes to make the top eight in the shot put at the state meet and earn a spot on the podium.
Zimmer also wants to set Arcanum’s shot put record. She has thrown far enough during indoor competition to break the record but needs to do it in the outdoor season to make it official. She also hopes to improve on her own school record in the discus.
Zimmer has made herself into a college athlete with her hard work, Whitaker said, and is very deserving of this opportunity.
“It’s kind of crazy to think when she first came around in freshman year she barely even knew what a shot and disc was, and now she’s making it to state, making it to indoor state and putting a bunch of work and time in, and she’s reaping the benefits,” he said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.