Before graduating from Triton Regional High last year, Rachelle Bourque set a school record in the javelin, captured league and state titles, and competed in National Scholastic Championships.
As she finishes off her freshman year on the UMass Amherst track team, Bourque is starting to compile a similar resume at the collegiate level.
Bourque broke the UMass school record in the javelin (139-8) at last weekend's Atlantic-10 Championships. The freshman placed second in the conference — the top finish of any Minutemen athlete in the meet.
"My goal at the beginning of the season was just to get better in my events," Bourque said. "I wasn't expecting this. As the weeks went on this season, I started setting new goals. I helped the team score points, which is what I wanted to do. I wanted to feel like I had a place on the team as a freshman."
Bourque, a merit scholar in high school, set a personal best javelin throw of 128-7 as a senior at Triton. Last weekend, her throw was 11 feet and 11 inches farther than her best high school throw. She credits her commitment to the weight room and the increased event-specific training at the collegiate level.
At UMass, she lifted three times a week during the offseason and twice a week in season. She also practiced for 21/2 hours per day, alternating between footwork drills, throwing technique and distance training.
"It's a lot of fun," Bourque said. "It's different than high school, but I love both equally."
Bourque, who is studying kinesiology, will compete in the New England Championships this weekend. She is one of the rare River Rival athletes to successfully juggle college and a Division 1 sport.
"Most of the time, I do pretty well with it," Bourque said. "I get out of class around 2 p.m. every day, and then I practice and eat dinner. I try to take all of my classes before the afternoon practice, so my night is entirely devoted to studying."