AUSTINTOWN - The frigid winter days are enough to make some Ohioans want to move south.
Austintown Fitch senior Gabby Figueroa is doing just that after signing her National Letter of Intent to be a thrower for the LSU Track and Field team.
She is the two-time OATCCC indoor state champion in the weight throw and holds the state record at 56 feet. Figueroa chose LSU over Michigan, Iowa, Texas-San Antonio and Ashland.
She was a state qualifier in the OHSAA state outdoor meet in the shot put and discus.
However, choosing the Tigers wasn't a matter of keeping warm.
"Which is not the reason I went down there, I prefer the colder weather," Figueroa said.
LSU is one of the nation's premier track and field programs and she wants to be part of the team's success.
"I want to be part of their family," Figueroa said.
There's no doubt she'll be able to handle the pressure that comes along with being a Tiger.
"I know physically I'm so capable of doing so many things and throw so much farther," she said. "Having a truly competitive mindset is what you need as a thrower in a pressure situation. It only takes one throw to get to finals. If you don't get that one throw, you're out."
YSU BOUND: Fitch senior Sam Ortz didn't want to go away to school. That being said, Youngstown State was the right fit for this versatile track and field athlete.
"I would excel here rather than being somewhere else," he said.
The Falcon athlete competed in the sprints, middle distance, long jump and high jump. That experience will help as he becomes a decathlete his sophomore year with the Penguins.
He'll expand his repertoire by competing in events like the 100-meter dash, 110 hurdles, javelin throw, shot put and 1,500.
"I've heard what it is and what a second job it is. I'm ready to take it on and see what challenges I have," Ortz said.