WESTMINSTER, Vt. – Bellows Falls Union High School (BFUHS) junior and Bellows Falls resident Laura Kamel recently captured her second consecutive track and field, Division III State Championship in the discus. Her toss of 34.34 meters was tops in the state in her division at the Southern Vermont League Championship. Laura also placed eighth in the state in the javelin with a throw of 22.42 meters, and also competed in the high jump.
These outstanding achievements are quite a “feat” (pun intended) for Kamel, who actually won her first discus state title the previous year – the Division II title – after having come off a fractured bone in her foot.
“I started throwing the discus halfway through the season my freshman year, and had the broken foot, so I couldn’t do much except watch and learn,” Laura said in a recent interview. “I was encouraged by a couple of my friends, but one of my previous teachers, Jen Perry, really helped convince me to join, and I’m very grateful to her every day for it.”
Along with her track and field endeavors, Laura also plays BFUHS soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and she rides horses year-round. Her quick rise in the discus, however, is unique, and a great example of an individual athlete not only absorbing and then executing her coaching, but also persevering through adversity with her injury.
“My coaching has just been amazing,” Laura said. “Kim Lunna has really helped me a lot, and not just by coaching technique, but also pushing me to be at my best and really giving me the opportunity to work on and improve my skills.”
Laura also credits her parents for doing their homework as well, researching and offering their daughter different drills and skills tips to help give her any edge as she improves her techniques. “My parents have helped me a lot to improve, along with my coaches from other sports. The work and skills that I do (for other sports) are so beneficial for track as well.
“Much thanks to my basketball coach James Pecsok, and my soccer coach Holly King, for helping me to grow in different ways that I know will help me in my sports career and future.”
Laura also talked about how participating in the state championship helped her to gain experience and more confidence.
“The New England [regional championship] has been an amazing experience – going there the last two years – because it has shown me that although I may be one of the best in my small town, there’s also competition outside of the state that can be completely different,” Laura concluded.
“It was a bit of a culture shock going there, given these are the top athletes in each state, so I had my work cut out for sure. These girls didn’t mess around, and it felt very serious and intimidating at first, but all the athletes were supportive of each other and we would all chat like we were on the same team in between events.”
Moving forward, Laura is looking to improve scores in all her events and will train in between her current commitments to school and basketball. “I’m also really excited for the upcoming track and field season, because it looks like we are going to have more girls coming out and additional coaching, so I’m optimistic we will have more athletes qualifying for New England’s so we can better represent our school. Personally, I’m looking forward to my junior season and the competition I will be facing this year.” Can you say “three-peat” for Laura? Stay tuned.