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Ariana Kuhn tabs Western Kentucky as next collegiate track & field home

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Ariana Kuhn’s decision on where to continue her collegiate throwing career came after all the same ups and downs as most student-athletes’ recruiting processes. But it also followed her approach she uses in every other aspect of her life. She relied on her faith.
The recently graduated VU product from Marshall, IL, will take her skills and work ethic in the shot put, discus, weight throw and hammer throw to Western Kentucky and she believes the Hilltoppers program is literally the answer to prayers.
“I had been praying about each one of the schools that were interested in me and that I had interest in,” she said. “When it comes to Western Kentucky, I think God saved the best for last.”
Kuhn said the Conference USA-member Div. I university in Bowling Green, KY, offers a strong academic setting in her chosen field of study. From an athletics standpoint, she said, WKU provides a golden opportunity for a thrower like her who is still developing her skills after two years with the Trailblazers. Former Hilltopper All-American thrower and Olympian Raigo Toompuu is the throws coach for WKU Track & Field. He was a four-time NCAA Championship qualifier in the shot put for the Hilltoppers from 2002-05 and represented his native country Estonia in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, where he placed 30th.
“Western Kentucky is a D-1 (program) but they work with each student-athlete individually, and I really think that will help me get better,” Kuhn said, and added that Toompuu was tailor-made to instruct the WKU throwers. “Raigo was a thrower there, himself, so he knows what it’s like to be a member of the group of throwers that he’s coaching.”
Kuhn made steady improvement throughout her VU tenure as Head Coach Chris Gafner and Assistant Coach Tim Marsee helped guide her development. She grew as a thrower to better her best freshman mark in the shot put of 33 feet, ¾ inch, to throw a personal-best 36 feet, ¼ inch, in January at the indoor Greyhoud Track & Field Classic at the University of Indianapolis. Her best effort in the hammer throw was just more than 162 feet at the Eastern Illinois Twilight Meet in early May and the throw placed her second on the all-time VU performance list. Kuhn also recorded a career-best 52-foot heave in the weight throw (No. 3 all time for a VU competitor) at a February indoor meet at Indiana State, while flinging the discus 132 feet, ¼ inch, at the Bellarmine Classic in April at Louisville, KY.
"Ariana has really built herself into a highly competitive thrower; she is one of the most self-motivated athletes I have ever come across,” Gafner said. “I know that when she puts on a WKU uniform next year, she will be fully prepared for D-1 competition. She knows what the expectations will be and she embraces them."

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