LINCOLN – As far back as she can remember, Allison Plante always had her sights set on showcasing her abilities at the NCAA Division I level.
“Since I started playing field hockey when I was younger, I wanted to make it up there,” said Plante, “but that dream faded once I started to realize how tough it was to get there for that particular sport.”
Fortunately for Plante, field hockey wasn’t the only athletic activity on her personal dance card. A senior at Lincoln High School, she’s also a member of the throwing wing of a Lions’ track & field program that in recent years has produced a number of top-flight individuals whose specialty lies in throwing objects that travel great distances.
Once Plante warmed up to the possibility that events such as the shot put and hammer throw represented her best ticket to competing at the highest possible collegiate setting, the rest started to fall into place.
On Monday afternoon before a large gathering inside the high school’s temporary library – one that included mother Susan, father Christopher, younger brother Ryan, and grandparents David and Marie Chmielewski – Plante announced that she’ll head to Sacred Heart University and compete for the Pioneers’ women’s track & field program upon graduating from Lincoln this coming June.
After receiving a thunderous round of applause upon signing her National Letter of Intent shortly after two o’clock, Plante explained why a Northeast Conference school that’s based in Connecticut checked off so many boxes.
“I went there on a whim … my mom told me to pick another college to visit. It turned out they had a track & field program and happen to be D-I. I got in contact with the coach while sitting in the parking lot near the admissions’ office,” said Plante. “As luck would have it, we crossed paths with (Pioneers track & field head coach Christian Morrison) before going on a tour.”
Plante went on an official to Sacred Heart in September.
“I looked at a few schools but Sacred Heart had it all. It all just fell into place,” she said. “Now I don’t have to scurry around. (As far as choosing a college), it’s all figured out.”
Stated LHS throwing coach Brian Grant, “This was a school [meaning Sacred Heart] that she really had her heart set on as far as going to. It’s great that everything worked out.”
Her rise to becoming a future Pioneer contributor took a more serious turn this past fall when Plante opted to forgo her senior field hockey season with the Lions. It was a difficult choice for someone who had been involved with field hockey for eight straight years, yet Plante saw the bigger, more important picture.
“I wanted to pursue track more seriously and enjoy the benefit of having more of a preseason,” Plante explained. “I realized I had to put it all out there and hope that I get picked up and get on a team which fortunately I did.”
“You can spend that time getting better in throwing or spend it playing another sport,” said Grant. “She’s already better because of the choice she made.”
Selected as captain of the Lincoln girls indoor and outdoor track programs, Plante established a personal-best in the 20-pound weight event at a recent indoor meet (45 feet, 4 inches). She’s already qualified for March’s New Balance National Indoor Meet that will take place in New York City. Last June, she completed in the New Balance Outdoor Championships.
“I missed qualifying for last year’s (New Balance Indoor Nationals) by about two inches. To make Nationals so early in the season is a really good feeling,” said Plante. “It didn’t make me doubt for a second that I made the right choice [when it came to track].”
While the male sector of the Lincoln throwing branch has gained plenty of notoriety with Garrett Doyle heading to Ohio State in 2018 and Class of 2020 product Kyle Moison announcing this past November that he’ll be in the oval competing for the Auburn University, the girls’ side has also basked in the glow of the D-I spotlight. When Plante was a freshman thrower in 2016-17, she saw Maggie Tarmey commit to Lehigh University and Sam Andrews take her throwing talents to URI.
“I may be a little biased, but coach Grant is one of the best ones out there,” said Plante, an honor’s student at Lincoln who plans to study neuroscience in college. “He tailors everything to you. Everything in throwing is related to what you’re doing. He’s an amazing coach who has given us so many opportunities that I’m beyond thankful for.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03