Luke Stergiou / Photo Editor

Matthew Barriga

Equinox Staff

Shannon Parks is a first-year student at Keene State and was recently awarded with the Little East Conference (LEC) Rookie of the Week award. Parks, who competes in shot put, recently threw 10.53 meters at a meet at Smith College.

Parks said she began doing track and field her first year of high school. After an upperclassman friend recommended the sport to her, she said she found that she enjoyed it and had fit right in. She said that she also throws discus in the spring, and has recently begun practicing hammer throw and increasing weight training. Parks said she attributes most of her success to her training and conditioning. “We have practice every day besides Sunday, and lift around four days a week,” she said. “It’s mostly about building up strength, and we have two technical practices a week where we just go through our event and fine tune things.”

Parks said she did track all four years in high school. She competed for Reading Memorial High School in Reading, Massachusetts and was the team captain in the spring of her senior year. She also broke her school’s previous record of forty feet by throwing forty-two feet the same year.

Parks said she plans to continue doing track and field at Keene State, and that this year’s season has been going well for both her and the team. She said she’s excited to learn more as the season goes on. “Personally, I’ve never worked on rotational before, so I’m really happy to be doing that,” she said.

Head coach Tom Pickering said that Parks is succeeding on account of her commitment to the sport. “Shannon is a very dedicated thrower,” he said. “She is committed every day to working toward her goals. She loves the sport and it shows in her level of investment into the training process.” He also said that Parks adds a lot to the team, especially being a well-rounded thrower. “Shannon is a great addition to our track and field team.  She was a strong high school thrower and a very good recruit for us.  She fits in very well with the women’s throws group on our track and field team at Keene State.  Not just Shannon, but that group is committed to always being on time and never missing a practice.  I have been fortunate to be able to work directly with the throws group last year and again this year on a daily basis.”

“Shannon brings an intensity to her throwing that is required to reach her top level one day,” said Pickering. “She brought that immediately in her first season and it is very good for the group and the team. Shannon has a great opportunity to develop into a strong 4-event thrower during here collegiate career. I suspect that she will develop into a strong thrower not only in shot put but also in weight throw, discus, and hammer.”

Grace Zangrilli is a sophomore and is good friends with Parks. Zangrilli also had many positive things to say about Parks, having spent a lot of time with her over the past few months. “She’s very dedicated,” she said. “She’s always positive and happy.” Zangrilli also said that she feels confident for the team this season and has seen a lot of improvement over previous years both for the team and for herself.

Matthew Barriga can be contacted at

mbarriga@kscequinox.com