Mountain Pointe senior Hannah DeMarr has been spinning and twirling gracefully as a ballerina since she was 3 years old.
The idea of adding a heavy metal ball to the mix was never a part of the original equation.
Originally, track was simply a way to keep in shape during the offseason between the two other sports she played.
“My freshman year I had done volleyball (and) soccer and I wanted to keep doing another sport and I was like, ‘Oh I’ll just try track’,” DeMarr said. “It started off as not a serious sport for me and now it’s like my main sport.”
Throws weren’t her main event that first year as DeMarr got her start in track and field as a high jumper.
“I thought I would be good at it because of volleyball. It was not good,” DeMarr said. “I think I maybe cleared it once or twice the whole season, the starting height which is like four-feet-something. I was not really a jumper.”
Her coaches, realizing this, told DeMarr to try the shot and discus. She was a natural, although it took her a little while to get the basics right.
“It was hard getting all of the weird footwork down because I had never done it before, but as soon as people were teaching me I got the hang of it,” DeMarr said.
She finished her career with personal bests of 34 feet, 10 inches in the shot put and 119-8 in the discus.
For DeMarr, her ballet training gave her an edge in picking up the intricacies of throwing in track and field.
“We spin a lot and we have to stay low and use our hips (in ballet) so that definitely helps a lot,” DeMarr said.
As much as her ballet training helped her go from novice thrower to Division-I state-qualifier in only a year, the two activities’ schedules weren’t so compatible.
“It took a lot of dedication and some sacrifices on her part,” said her father, Glenn. “There was time when she was trying to do all three sports and ballet, but she ended up focusing on track and it was still a lot to try to balance both.”
The balancing act led to DeMarr missing a meet leading up to this year’s state championship because of her obligations with her studio, Dance Studio 111.
“It was so frustrating,” DeMarr said. “There wasn’t really much I could do about it so I just had to stay positive and not let it get me down.”
It didn’t seem to affect her too much as DeMarr still qualified for the shot put in this year’s Division I State Championships at Mesa Community College, where she will throw in college.
Looking back, DeMarr thought that she might go to college for dance, or maybe volleyball, but never track.
But just because track has become her priority doesn’t mean that DeMarr, a member of the Ahwatukee Nutcracker Ballet, isn’t going to give up dancing just yet.
“Our studio, you can be up to a certain age and keep going or I can at least help out with the classes with my dance teachers,” DeMarr said. “I’m looking to focus more on track but I still want to keep that aspect of doing dance because I love it so much.”
No matter what she does, DeMarr’s future will keep on spinning, be it a pirouette or a discus toss.
• Eric Smith is a junior journalism major at Arizona State University. He is a summer intern at the Ahwatukee Foothills News.