Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

June 10, 2014

State champ bound for Davenport

KINGSLEY — Molly Franke had never thrown the discus more than 112 feet until a little over a week ago.

She also didn’t officially have a college scholarship until last week.

Both those things changed in a hurry.

Franke set a new discus personal-best by 10 feet to win the Division 3 state championship, then signed a national letter-of-intent with Davenport University less than a week later.

“This season has definitely been a roller coaster,” Franke said. “I definitely had ups and downs.”

The Kingsley senior didn’t win her conference or regional in discus (she did win the regional shot put crown) and went into the state finals seeded 24th out of 27 qualifiers.

At the finals, Franke managed to get into the final round of nine. She was eighth of the nine finalists.

Then on the second of her three heaves came one magical throw.

“It just came off her hand perfectly,” Stags track coach Christel Schaar said. “She had great speed in the circle and did great with her release.”

Boom — 122 feet, 11 inches. She won the state title by eight inches over Dansville’s Hannah Dunham.

Kingsley throwers coach Duane Wyse told Franke before the finals to relax and envision a perfect throw.

“I knew I could,” Franke said. “My coach, he just told me I had to believe I could do it. I wasn’t really nervous or anything.”

Franke led the Stags in points both as a senior and sophomore, and was tied for the lead as a junior.

Franke also looked at Detroit Mercy and North Central College in Illinois as finalists.

“I had basically decided to go to Detroit Mercy,” Franke said. “And then Davenport contacted me. I think it was more of an athletic scholarship and the campus environment.”

She aims to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

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