After reaching her goal of becoming one of the state's top young throwers in junior high, Samantha Satterfield established a new mission for herself:
To eventually take her track and field career to the Division I level.
Satterfield earlier this month signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her throws career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — more colloquially known as UW-Milwaukee or just Milwaukee — while furthering her education in the field of biology.
It's another goal achieved for the Ottawa High School senior who has qualified for the IHSA State Track and Field Meet each of the past two seasons in both the discus and the shot put.
"After eighth grade when I won (IESA) State for grade school, I set a goal for myself after high school. I wanted to go Division I," Satterfield said. "At the beginning of this year, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go. I had a bit of an idea, but I didn’t know what kind of school I was looking for.
"I was visiting Division IIIs, Division IIs, and then a Division I. I visited probably six schools, but I think the Division I just stuck a little more for me. I've always had the goal to go to a Division I, but by senior year I'd realized I just wanted to throw, wherever it was.
"The Division I just turned out to be the best fit for me."
Four huge factors in UW-Milwaukee's being a better fit for The Times Girls Track and Field All-Area Honor Roll performer?
Education, facilities, location and the people.
"I'm going to be a biology major, so I liked that it was a research university. That will mean a lot more opportunities for me," Satterfield said. "I also liked the facilities. They don't have an outdoor track, but the indoor track and training room are very nice ...and looking at their schedule, they have lots of meets at places like Notre Dame, Purdue, U of I. It's nice that my parents can make it to some of my meets and watch me throw.
"Along with that, I really liked the coach, and when I visited I did an overnight there. I had to stay with some of my (future) teammates, and they were really nice. I got along with everyone there. ...
"I definitely want to thank Russ (Deverteuil) at the YMCA. He's been a huge help with training me. And really all of my coaches who have helped me along the way, even back (in junior high) at Milton Pope. I never would have been throwing if it weren't for them.
"And of course both my parents, for sure. They've driven me everywhere for throwing."
Satterfield's head coach at Ottawa High, Jessica Kuhn, has no doubts her star thrower can succeed at the next level.
"Sam is a coach's dream," Kuhn said. "Since the day she stepped foot in Ottawa High School, she had a plan. Not only is she a very good shot and discus thrower, she is also an excellent student. I couldn't be more proud of of how she has excelled in track and in her education at OHS.
"She is one of the hardest-working high school athletes I've ever met. Work ethic-wise, she has been a leader on our team since her freshman year.
"I love her competitive spirit and can't wait to see what she does at UWM!"
Her college coaches believes Satterfield can do quite a lot.
“I’m extremely excited to have Samantha join what is turning out to be a very deep and talented group of female throwers," UW-Milwaukee head coach Andrew Basler said. "I give my assistant coaches the autonomy to recruit and build their event groups. (Throws) coach (Luke) Krauser did a great job establishing a strong relationship with Samantha and showing her what UWM and our program have to offer.
"After sitting down with Samantha during her official visit, it was quite obvious the passion and work ethic she possesses as a thrower. Equally impressive was her character and her commitment to academics.”
Added Krauser, "Sam got on my radar after finding her profile on NCSA, which is a recruiting website. She had great throws mark,s and she also already had a background in throwing hammer, which is not something that a lot of high school athletes have going into college.
"Once I actually got into her profile, I saw that she had really good grades and test scores and wanted a major that UWM had, so I knew she fit on the academic side as well as the athletic side of things, and shortly after we saw that her personality fit in well with the rest of the throws group, so we knew it was a good match. I knew from the phone call that there was a connection, and the visit sealed the deal.
"The expectations that I have (are) for Sam to come in and grow with the program. We are expecting big things to happen in the upcoming years as a team, and she will be a big piece of that puzzle. I know she is going to develop into an even better athlete, thrower, student and person, and we are very excited to be part of that journey."
It should come as no surprise Satterfield has already set new, loftier goals.
"My first year," said Satterfield, "I definitely want to try to contribute as much as I can and try to learn a lot from everyone on the team and the coaches. I think it's going to be really new to me to be in a program where I throw year-round ... and I definitely have the goal of going to the NCAA Championships.
"I like to set one goal and just build off that. Hopefully I can do that by the time I’m a junior, and we’ll see after that."
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