It was a rainy day early in the week prior to the District 4 Class AAA Championships, and while some may have looked outside at the continuous drops of rain and called it a day, Rachel Fatherly remained in Williamsport High School and went to work.
Her coach had a plan for her to master her spin in the discus, so there was Fatherly looking like a top spinning round and round and round. She said she did 70 spins that gloomy day and it has been that type of work ethic that has transformed Fatherly into a high school freshman with potential into a Division I signee.
The Williamsport school record holder in the discus and shot put made her college choice official Monday morning by signing her national letter of intent to attend Penn State in the fall.
"Ever since I was younger I wanted to be a Nittany Lion," said Fatherly, "and it was like a dream come true."
Penn State's coaches, facilities and location furthered the point home to Fatherly.
Fatherly, who won the Penn Relays high school shot put in April, said Penn State has a strong throwing program and she was able to build a relationship with the coaches.
"The coaches are really nice," said Fatherly. "Personality was the key and I like that a lot."
Fatherly competed at Penn State this past winter at the Pennsylvania Indoor Track and Field State Championships, so it's a place that brings some familiarity. The hour that separates the State College campus and her home in Williamsport was also a plus. Fatherly wanted to remain close to home and Penn State gives her the opportunity while still allowing her to compete nationally against the best of the best.
Fatherly's parents and brothers have been big influences on the Williamsport senior. Her mother typically watches her daughter throw with notebook in hand tracking the competition and her father watches intently from a chair.
It all added up to Penn State being the "perfect place" for Fatherly, who broke a 16-year District 4 Class AAA record in the discus on Saturday at Athens with a throw of 140 feet, 9 inches..
Before she dons the blue and white, however, Fatherly will represent Williamsport at a PIAA-sanctioned event one final time this weekend at Shippensburg. The four-time District 4 Class AAA champion and three-time PIAA placewinner in the shot put will get another opportunity to win her first PIAA gold medal on Friday morning and the three-time district discus champion will return to the throwing area on Saturday afternoon for the discus. She is the top seed in both events.