By Jeanne Sager
March 25, 2003 Name: Andrea Kavleski
School and grade: Liberty Central School, 11th grade
Parents: Andy and Beverly
Favorite sport: track
Favorite professional sports figure: Dawn Ellerbee, the world record holder in the 20-pound weight throw
Ultimate athletic goal: Kavleski hopes to attend a Division I school and continue throwing throughout college.
Favorite subject: Computer-aided drafting
Andrea Kavleski wasnt sure what to do with the first weight she got.
Her father, Liberty track coach Andy Kavleski, threw the shot put and the discus in high school.
And one day, Andrea recalls, he came home with a weight and said, Here, I bought you a weight, learn how to throw it.
But it didnt take long to get the Liberty teenager hooked.
She started throwing by herself at her parents Ferndale farm, then took some pointers from former Monticello throw coach Bob Decker and improved by more than 30 feet.
Within a half hour period, her throws were 20 feet further, Andy recalled. Its been a lot of work on Andreas part.
Today Kavleski is one of the top female throwers in the nation, proven by some crucial wins at some major track meets, including a third place finish in the hammer throw at the National Scholastic Indoor Competition earlier this month.
Kaveleskis throw of 48 3 1/4 was her best ever and shes been named an All-American High School track star for her accomplishment (a feat she hopes to repeat in college as an NCAA All-American).
Her main events are the hammer and the 20-pound weight, although she has put the shot as well.
But anyone who knows me would tell you Im not the greatest shot putter, Kaveleski confessed. I only threw 33 feet this year.
The shot requires a lot of upper body strength, she explained.
Which I have, Kavelski noted. But my strength is more in the lower body.
Im actually pretty coordinated at spinning around in a little circle, she added with a laugh.
And shes always been big for a girl, she added, not fat, just big. Shes 5 9 and more than 160 pounds of pure muscle.
Throwing for Kavleski is like instant gratification.
I like that I can accomplish a lot with it, she explained.
Shes already ranked eighth in the nation, and hard work pushes her higher and higher.
Already there are offers pouring in from schools who would like to see the junior join their track teams in a year and a half.
Big name schools, Andy Kavleski said, not some little podunk school.
Andrea is currently looking at Cornell the coaches at the Ivy League school noticed her at a recent meet, and shed enjoy the chance to stay close to her roots.
Kavleski lives on a farm, and shes a 4-H member, which means raising cows for show.
Her own special pet, Oreo, is a beef cow, but hes not for eating, she said. Hes just a pet.
The farm is also the place she started throwing. Ive broken so many fences, she said.
But now that she has her drivers license, Kavleski can drive in to Liberty and practice in the old weight room or out on the track preparing for her future in college.
And shes got the grades to attend a reputable school. Despite spending hours at the school and on the road for throwing, Kavleski maintains a 94 to 95 average in her classes at Liberty, where both her parents work and keep a watchful eye on their daughter.
For Dad, coaching Andrea isnt the best there are personality clashes he doesnt have with other team members.
She has a habit of back-talking when hes trying to tell her whats best, he said with a laugh.
But if she continues to work hard, I think therell be a lot of schools interested in her, he said. Weve got the outdoor season to go, and if she increases the same amount in the hammer as she did in the weight this year, therell be a lot of interest.
Andrea said her dad has been a major influence on her road to her dreams.
He didnt say, you have to do track, she recalled. He just said think about it.
He gave me the push towards it.