Multi-sport star

Pamela Crimbchin

After record-breaking softball career, Hamilton excelling in track and field

Credit: DKS Editors

After four years of a collegiate softball career, Kim Hamilton took only a month and a half off to be an average college student before deciding to become one of Kent State’s most successful javelin throwers.

“One, it just kind of felt weird not doing anything (after) being a college athlete for four years and, (two), I just like to test myself,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton has always excelled in sports. She joined her first little league softball team when she was four years old. In high school, Hamilton added basketball, volleyball and track to her schedule.

Her passion has always been softball, and she knew that she would have the greatest chance of being recruited by a college as a softball player. Therefore, track became Hamilton’s secondary sport at Illinois Valley High School in Oregon.

“Some days I would pitch a double header and turn around to run, jump and throw at a track meet,” Hamilton said. “So it was busy.”

At that time Illinois Valley had a policy that made Hamilton declare softball as her primary sport. If a meet and a game were at the same time, Hamilton would have to go to the game and miss her track meet.

After she graduated, Hamilton said, the school began to plan its athletics events so that multiple sport athletes would not have scheduling conflicts.

“I qualified for state in the long-jump and the javelin my senior year in track, but we were at the quarter finals for softball. They were conflicting, so I was unable to compete,” Hamilton said. “.as excited as I was to be in the top eight in the state for softball, I really wanted to see where I would have ended up in track.”

The extra dedication to softball paid-off for Hamilton when she was recruited to Kent State’s Flashes by softball coach Karen Linder in 2005.

“Kim was just an outstanding athlete, you could just tell,” Linder said about seeing Hamilton in high school. “You could probably have put her in any position on the softball field, and she would have been able to play it because of her athleticism.”

During Hamilton’s four years with the softball team, she made her mark in eight of the top 10 individual Kent State records. She is first in runs scored with 140, second in stolen bases with 66 and third in home runs with 26.

When she graduated from Kent State and the softball team, Linder was sad to see her go.

“She was one of the best all-around athletes that have come through our program,” Linder said. “I would love to have another Kim Hamilton.”

Hamilton was working on her masters in sports management at Kent State when she decided that she wanted to try another sport during her fifth year. Originally she had volleyball in mind, but her summer playing for the Akron Racers conflicted with the start of volleyball season.

Knowing that it was not an option, she talked with Linder and track coach Bill Lawson about trying for the Kent State throwing team, even after a four and a half year break.

Lawson knew of Hamilton’s past success with javelin, and thought she would still be in shape from her time as a collegiate softball player.

“She really had developed her body, developed her strength over these past four years and so it was kind of a natural “marriage,” if you will, to go from the softball center field throwing to the javelin,” Lawson said.

At first Hamilton was worried that her time off would put her below the standards for collegiate field stars, but after working with throwing coach Nathan Fanger to perfect her technique, Hamilton knew she could be successful.

At her first collegiate tack meet, the Duke Invitational, Hamilton won the javelin throw with a regional qualifying distance of 164′-11″.

Playing collegiate softball for four years has helped Hamilton in her transition to javelin. She already had a good throwing arm, was used to daily training and understood the dedication needed to perform at a collegiate level.

Hamilton said there is no secret to her success, she just has a natural athleticism, passion and determination.

“I don’t really know if it is a secret,” Hamilton said. “It’s just kind of built in me.”

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].