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Robb 'drops the hammer' on collegiate opponents

Ex-Sidney three-sport standout making mark at Concordia University

 

Concordia University / For The Sun-Telegraph

Kali Robb, a former star at Sidney High School, has distinguished herself as one of the top female throwers in the nation.

For any follower of Sidney High School sports, it's no surprise to hear that 2013 graduate Kali Robb is now breaking breaking records in college. After all, she broke many records at SHS, even some of her own.

While a three-sport (volleyball, basketball and track and field) standout in Sidney, Robb has since narrowed her athletic focus down to track and field as a thrower at Concordia University in Seward. In addition to breaking the school indoor record in the shot put (47 feet, 5 inches), she continues to knock down her personal bests on a regular basis.

Just this past weekend, as the Bulldogs hosted their annual Concordia Outdoor Invite, Robb eclipsed her previous outdoor bests in all her events. The highlight of her meet was winning the hammer throw while besting her previous personal record by nearly five feet. Robb's throw of 187 feet was not only the second-best in school history, it was the best NAIA throw of the season so far.

She also improved her personal record in the shot put by almost two feet (46-3) and discus by more than four feet (149-4).

For Robb, it's a nice beginning to the outdoor season after qualifying for nationals following the indoor season. She has also already punched her ticket for outdoor nationals.

Going into the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, in early March, Robb had just broken the Concordia school record in the shot put at 47-5. While her record was broken by Stephanie Cooley at nationals, Robb still qualified for the finals. Robb finished third in the shot put and sixth in the discus at nationals. The highlight of her meet, however, was her third place in the hammer throw – her favorite event.

"My proudest achievement here at Concordia would have to be making it to nationals this year," Robb said. "This year was special because I made it in all my events in the first meet, both indoor and outdoor.

"Qualifying for nationals was a great feeling and the experience is unreal. The atmosphere is amazing and the teammates that go are a huge factor to my confidence boost," Robb added.

At Sidney High, Robb still holds the school record in both the shot put (41-11) and discus (135-8). But she didn't just break the Red Raiders records, she shattered them. When Robb broke the shot put record at Gothenburg in April, 2013, she cleared the previous record by 14 inches. The previous record, by the way, was also held by Robb.

Just a few weeks earlier, Robb dismantled another of her Raider standards at the Ed Moore Invite at Ogallala. While already holding the discus record at 129-10, Robb unleashed a toss of 135-8. While both marks remain unbroken at SHS, for Robb those marks are somewhat pedestrian compared to the distances she's now reaching.

For good measure, Robb still holds a volleyball record. She smashed 23 kills in a single match during the 2011 season. Considering her work ethic, it's tot surprising that Robb was also a regular on the honor roll lists in high school.

"Kali is very coachable," explained her college throwing coach Ed McLaughlin. "She has to deal with learning a lot of new techniques and she is striving to fix everything. But that's what makes a great thrower. She is really beginning to understand what we are teaching and is starting to feel the positions, which makes her life and my life a lot easier."

Since arriving at Concordia in the fall of 2013, McLaughlin began the process of changing Robb's technique in the shot put. She also had to learn two new events – the hammer and weight throws. In the weight throw, an indoor event, she's topped out at 60-9. Her 187-foot hammer throw last weekend remains her best – so far.

"I would have to say the most difficult transition from high school to college was going from a glider shot putter to a rotation shot putter," Robb said. "For the most part (the transition) wasn't too hard."

According to McLaughlin, Robb's relatively easy transition from high school to college athletics was made easier by her work ethic.

"Kali works very hard ... she barely missed a beat," McLaughlin said of Robb's adoption of the new shot-put technique. "She has already done some amazing things at Concordia. In 2014, she was the top female freshman thrower in the country."

While Robb works hard to juggle her academic and athletic life at Concordia, she maintains a proper balance with close ties to her family. Besides Kali, Angie and Chuck Robb also have two other children, Derek and Brady. The Robb's two sons also have a gift for hard work and athletic talent.

As a freshman, Derek went undefeated and won a Class B state championship in wrestling at 138 pounds. Meanwhile, Brady the youngest, is also proving to be a successful wrestler as he recently qualified for the Heartland USA Elementary National Folk Style Duals.

When not with her family or friends, Robb might be found relaxing to her favorite country artist, Randy Houser. She might even slip in a movie starring Sandra Bullock – such as the "Blind Side." She might pause from her busy life for a few seconds if she catches clips of her favorite athlete, Michael Jordan. Eventually, however, nothing beats "being with family and doing the things we enjoy."

"I am very lucky to have a person like Kali throwing for me at Concordia," McLaughlin said. "She is one of the reasons we have one of the top throws programs in the country. She is a very family oriented person. She is a high-motor athlete with an almost laser focus on getting better."

 

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