Track and Field: O-G’s Hoffman poised for strong finish

OTTAWA – Last spring as a junior, Ottawa-Glandorf’s Emma Hoffman did not have the finish to her track-and-field season that she wanted.

At last season’s Division II regional meet at Piqua, Hoffman placed fifth in the shot put and did not make the finals in the discus. She did not qualify for the state meet in either event. The top four placers in each event at the regional meet advanced to the state meet.

As a sophomore, Hoffman placed third in the discus at the 2022 Division II state track meet.

Hoffman, who’s committed as a thrower to Bowling Green State University next school year, has taken a little different approach to her craft.

“A lot of my training this year in practices and over the summer has been focused on my mental game,” Hoffman said. “Over the summer I would have three throws (during training) and I would say to myself, ‘Ok, you have three throws. Make sure you get one in’. Once you get that one to go, then hopefully that gets you into the finals and you can go for it (a bigger throw). Last year at regionals, I did not get that. On my third one, I was obviously very nervous. That was just kind of a bad technical meet. With that being said, that (mental part) is something I have been focusing on.”

Ottawa-Glandorf girls head coach Matt Burwell said Hoffman is focused on more than just returning to the state meet.

“I just think everyone has a bad day. Unfortunately, Emma had hers at the regional meet,” Burwell said. “And I know she used that as motivation to get through the off-season. She’s really focused not only on her workouts but also on being the leader to the young throwers. With her being the only senior girl in the throws, she’s really doing a good job of building everyone’s character and making it a good work environment. And it’s definitely showing, especially with these freshman and sophomore girls.”

So far this spring, Hoffman is performing at a high level. This past Thursday in a tri-meet with Columbus Grove and Kalida, Hoffman broke her own school record in the discus with a mark of 144 feet. Her previous school record was 140-2. Hoffman’s personal best in the shot put is 39-1.5, which is a school record that she shares with her throws coach at O-G, Nicole Morman.

“I feel pretty good. I’m just kind of making technical corrections,” Hoffman said. “Hopefully, once the weather gets good and we get off the heavy lifting cycle, then I hopefully will be setting myself up well for the conference (Western Buckeye League meet) and into districts.”

The O-G girls team has been dominant this spring. At the (Tiffin) Bill Krause Memorial (4/20) the Titans placed third in a very competitive field of 11 teams. Before that invitational, the O-G girls won the Celina Invitational (3/30), Bath’s Ehresman Invitational (4/5) and the O-G Gold Medal Meet (4/15).

“I think it was kind of hard at the end of last season, obviously,” Morman said. “She didn’t hit the goals that she wanted in order to make it to state, but it definitely fueled her off-season and fueled the way she approached this season. I think this season, just like every season, it’s a new start but she is also building from where she left off from last year.”

Hoffman grew up with her older sister, Grace (class of 2020), who also excelled in the throws at O-G.

“She went to the University of Findlay to throw, so she’s in her fourth year (at Findlay),” Emma Hoffman said about her sister. “She did three years of track and then in her fourth year she took an assistantship. So, she is not doing track anymore, but she did it for three years.

“Growing up, I was really close to my sister, because I only had one sister. So, she really served as an inspiration in track and academics, and pretty much in everything for me. I wanted to grow up and have kind of the same goals and kind of chase after her in track and academics. We were four years apart, so I would always tag along in practices. That just kind of became more of a family thing, where we always got to spend time together. That’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.”

When Hoffman chose to continue her athletic and academic career at Bowling Green, there were several things she considered.

“I was looking at all my options. I really liked their track program, their coach, what their program stood for and the really good team atmosphere they had created,” Hoffman said. “Once I viewed their nursing program, I knew that was the place where I wanted to be. They have a really good nursing program. So for having all of those things line up, it was something I was really looking forward to.

“My sister is at Findlay. So, it’s a half-hour (drive) for her and it’s a half-hour from home. So, being close to family is really something that I also took into consideration when looking into colleges.”

Hoffman also set several goals for her senior campaign.

“Something I’ve really focused on this year was not only my throws, but just being a really good teammate, always encouraging my teammates and being a really good mentor for them,” Hoffman said. “I know in the past that I had my sister and others as good mentors. I really wanted to focus on being a senior this year, and obviously making it back down to state. Last year taught me, more than anything, that you want to make sure you’re a good person. Hopefully, I’ll have the next four years at Bowling Green (for track), but after that, I want to be remembered for the person that I am.”

Added Morman, “She’s definitely a unique and special kid. She pulled me aside at the beginning of the year and talked about what her goals were for this year. She didn’t necessarily mention certain marks or making it to state, until after she already talked about how she wants to be a good team leader and a good teammate to the other kids on the team.”