South Portland High senior Rebekah Hunnewell-Dunphe holds school records in the shot put and discus. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — As the defending Class A state champion in the shot put, Rebekah Hunnewell-Dunphe of South Portland was looking forward to her senior season of indoor track.

She’s still looking forward to it, hoping to get the go-ahead to get back in the circle this weekend as she recuperates from knee surgery in early October to repair a ruptured ACL and torn meniscus from field hockey.

“It’s no fun going to the meets and watching everybody else throw,” said South Portland coach Karen Reardon, “but she knows what she wants to accomplish for the future. She’s handled it really well in terms of coping with the setback and the disappointment and getting herself ready to compete again.”

Had the injury happened during Hunnewell-Dunphe’s first year in high school, “Rebekah would have been a puddle,” Reardon said. “From her freshman year to now, the growth she has experienced both physically as an athlete and just that commitment and mindset as an athlete has been outstanding.”

Hunnewell-Dunphe owns schools records in the shot put indoors (36 feet, 8.25 inches) and outdoors (38 feet, 6.5 inches) as well as the discus (118 feet, 6 inches).

We sat down with her at a recent practice to ask her a few questions.


Q: Have you always enjoyed throwing things?

A: Yeah. I was always strong for my age, so I’d play third base or catcher.

Q: You grew up playing softball?

A: Yes, I started playing when I was 8. First tee ball, then softball.

Q: Do you have siblings who played?

A: I have an older sister but she didn’t do sports at all. She was a cheerleader. My mom didn’t want me to be a cheerleader because she didn’t like the long cheerleading competitions.


Q: You also played field hockey and basketball in middle school. Is that when you were introduced to shot put?

A: I did shot put indoor when I was in eighth grade. I wasn’t really good, but I was strong enough that it looked like I was good at it.

Q: As a sophomore you set a school record for the shot in outdoor track and as a junior added two more for discus and indoor track. You also throw javelin in the spring. Which implement is your favorite to throw?

A: I didn’t like the discus or the javelin until this past outdoor season. Then, at one of the meets, I started throwing the discus over 100 (feet). And I was able to break the school record. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is a lot better.’

Q: Do you spin before releasing the shot?

A: No, I only do the glide. I’ve tried the spin, but I’m not very graceful so I look a little funny and it doesn’t go as far as when I glide.


Q: How heavy is the shot?

A: A shot weighs 8.8 pounds. It’s the same indoor and outdoor.

Q: Do you have a private throwing coach?

A: Yes, I throw with Brian Woodbury with Slingshot Throws (of Scarborough). And I lift (weights) with his fiancee, Tanya Wilkes. I’ve been with them since outdoor (track) freshman year, but I didn’t take lifting seriously until sophomore year.

Q: What’s the feeling like when you make a good throw?

A: Sometimes you know halfway through the throw that it’s going to be good. If you don’t go across the circle closed enough you know it’s going to be a bad throw. But sometimes you’re closed enough and it all clicks.


Q: What do you mean by closed?

A: When you’re throwing, you kind of close yourself off to the rest of your body. So when you go across the circle as closed as possible, you get a better push out of it. 

Q: How did you get hurt in field hockey?

A: I was running back towards the ball because I got beat, then one of my teammates kind of popped up in front of me. I didn’t want to run her over, so I tried to dodge her and I heard the loud pop that everyone hears, and fell over.

Q: You underwent surgery in early October. Is is still painful?

A: It depends what I do. (Physical therapy) stuff, it hurts. Sometimes stairs hurt. And it’s sore when it’s cold.


Q: How is your rehabilitation coming along?

A: My physical therapist has started incorporating throwing into my rehab and I’ve been able to throw outside of PT and at school. I practice normally except for the running, which I can’t do yet.

Q: Are you close to competing again?

A: I have a functional test (Wednesday) to see if they can let me throw (this) weekend. It might not happen, though, because I’m going for an official visit to UMaine.

Q: How goes the college search?

A: I haven’t really searched. I’ve wanted to go to UMaine because of Brian talking about his experiences there and how the coaching is there.


Q: Do you listen to psych music before throwing?

A: Queen, especially for bigger meets. It just gets me more excited to throw.

Q: Best song?

A: “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I like to listen to that one before a meet.

Q: Do people call you Becky for short?

A: No. Rebekah or Bekah but no Becky. That seems like an older person’s name.

Q: How do you feel about the hyphen?

A: It’s kind of hard to sign my name (on forms) because the line for it is sometimes not long enough.

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