Like a lot of track and field athletes who end up excelling in other events, Salem’s Ciera Trybend started out as a sprinter in middle school.
“By eighth grade, I kind of wasn’t as good as everybody else,” Trybend said, laughing. “Some of the seniors graduating that year were like, ‘Hey, you should throw.’”
So, Trybend decided to (forgive the pun) give it a shot.
“I think I kind of had a natural talent for it,” she said.
Trybend was decent as a freshman — she placed 17th in the shot put at the Division II district meet — then got a huge boost the next season when the Quakers hired Bill and Jen Neapolitan to coach their throwers.
“They really just took me under their wing,” Trybend said. “They changed everything around and showed me what I had to do. They put a really good work ethic into me, I think.”
Trybend qualified for regionals in the shot put as a sophomore, then made it to the regional in both the shot put and discus as a junior. After placing 10th in the shot put at last year’s state meet, Trybend made another big jump this fall, placing fifth in the discus and eighth in the shot put to make the medal stand in both events.
“I definitely just wanted to be as good as I could,” said Trybend. “I was like, ‘Coach, we should just go to the Olympics.’
“Every year, my goals just kind of grew.”
Trybend will throw at Youngstown State next year and she hopes she left her mark at Salem.
“I don’t throw for me,” she said. “I want to show all the little [Quaker] Crazies that there’s something better out there than what’s going on in the streets.”