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Examiner
  • Bickham lands Div. I offer

  • Just when Tyra Bickham thought that a dream senior season couldn't get much better, the Blue Springs High School graduate got that phone call – the one she had been waiting more than a year for.

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  • Just when Tyra Bickham thought that a dream senior season couldn't get much better, the Blue Springs High School graduate got that phone call – the one she had been waiting more than a year for.
    “A few days before the Mo-Kan All-Star Track Meet (at Fort Osage High School) I got a call from Northern Illinois saying they were interested in talking to me,” said Bickham, who won the shot and discus at the Mo-Kan meet the week after finishing in second place in the discus and fourth in the shot put at state over Memorial Day weekend. “I'd talked to a few schools, but I really didn't have any idea where I was going to college. Then, on June 13th, my family and I visited and I loved the campus and the track coaches. I met a lot of really good people and knew that's where I wanted to go.”
    Northern Illinois, an NCAA Division I school in DeKalb, Ill., offered Bickham a full scholarship and she signed the national letter last week.
    “It's such a great feeling to sign your letter and know where you're going to school,” said Bickham, who also helped the basketball team to four consecutive final four berths in her four years there as part of the Wildcats’ streak of five straight.
    “A lot of my classmates think of me as a basketball player because we went to the final four the past four years, and I think I kind of thought of myself as a basketball player until my junior year,” she added. “That's when I really started having a lot of success in track, and knew that's probably what I would do in college.”
    She won the shot and discus at conference and district as a junior and went on to finish third in shot and fifth in discus at the state meet. She won both events at conference and district this spring as a senior, and she won the discus and took second in the shot put to Fort Osage’s Asia Cole at this spring’s sectional before her success at state.
    “I really got excited for Tyra when she got the scholarship to compete in college,” Wildcats girls track and field coach Jennifer Reeder said. “She had a lot of attention early on, but some coaches thought she was too small, but if you have ever seen her throw or play basketball, she is super powerful.”
    “She has been a great leader for our track team the last four years and is one of the hardest working athletes around. She came to practice every day with an infectious, positive attitude and inspired girls not only in the throwing events, but on the track as well.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Bickham said her enthusiasm comes from her parents.
    “I get that from my parents,” Bickham said. “I love to compete and I love to succeed – and I like to see others succeed. This past year has really been a dream season, going to state in basketball and finishing in second place at state to win our first state trophy.
    “And the boys (track team) won a (second-place) trophy, too. So we got to share our excitement with them. Now, I'm going to college. Life is good.”
    Reeder agrees, even though she is going to miss Bickham.
    “Tyra is the type of athlete that makes you love your job as a coach,” Reeder said. “I will miss her a ton next year – but I can't wait to see how successful she is going to be in college.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     

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