Story by Barry McNamara / Photos by Kent Kriegshauser  |  Published May 15, 2024

Rare Air

Maddie Boley making a name for herself as Fighting Scots thrower, Greek life leader.

MADDIE BOLEY: The junior was all smiles at a recent Fighting Scots home meet after establishing a new personal record in th... MADDIE BOLEY: The junior was all smiles at a recent Fighting Scots home meet after establishing a new personal record in the discus.MONMOUTH, Ill. – The storied history of women’s track and field at Monmouth College has a very short list of Fighting Scots throwers who rank in the top eight of the discus, hammer and shot put.

That list is even shorter when being the recipient of an Order of Omega national scholarship is added to the requirements for membership.

The first list features just Raven Robinson ’14 and junior Maddie Boley of Beecher, Illinois. Boley has the latter list all to herself by virtue of the $750 Parker F. Enright Scholarship she was awarded earlier this semester. Order of Omega, the honor society for college students in fraternities and sororities, established the scholarship to honor its founding adviser, who served as executive director of the organization from 1959-64.

In the discus, hammer and shot put, Boley currently ranks fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively, on the Scots’ honor roll. She didn’t top any of her career bests at last weekend’s Midwest Conference meet, but she topped all of her competitors, winning all three events to secure 30 of Monmouth’s 123 points. The Scots placed second to Ripon, which won the title with 149 points.

The sweep was a goal for Boley, and so was having a 1-2-3 podium finish with her teammates. The Scots almost accomplished the feat in the shot put and the hammer, placing three throwers in the top four in both.

Choosing Monmouth

Almost a year before completing her high school career with a third-place finish at state in the discus, Boley was trying to work through her college decision process.

HAMMER TIME: Boley prepares to unleash a throw earlier this month. The junior won the hammer at this spring's MWC outdo... HAMMER TIME: Boley prepares to unleash a throw earlier this month. The junior won the hammer at this spring's MWC outdoor meet, as well as the shot put and discus.“I was having a hard time with it,” she said. “Coach (Brian) Woodard asked if I’d come for a visit, and I did in August. But it was during COVID. It was a beautiful campus, and I loved it, but I still hadn’t decided yet.”

Boley eventually narrowed her choices to Monmouth and Ripon and scheduled a second visit during the early part of the Scots’ 2021 indoor season.

“I came for a practice, and there was actually life on campus that day,” she said. “I loved the people on the team and decided this was the place I wanted to be.”

Discus discussions

Woodard has a well-earned reputation for being a “thrower whisperer,” and Boley has benefitted from his expertise, although she said it hasn’t always been easy, particularly in her signature event, the discus.

“When I was in high school, I did the ‘glide’ technique,” she said. “When I got here, he wanted me to switch to the ‘rotational’ style. It’s a totally different throw, and I was frustrated at first. I wasn’t seeing results.”

Boley was already an athlete who “can get in my own head,” so the lack of progress could’ve derailed the whole process, which is akin to a golfer such as Tiger Woods dismantling his swing and starting over.

“That was a big meet for me. I’d been struggling to get a PR (personal record) in the discus. … Coach was cueing what I really needed to hear.” – Maddie Boley

“We’re putting the pieces together,” said Boley. “Coach Woodard has been very supportive along the way.”

She said she made a breakthrough at Monmouth’s last home meet of the outdoor season.

“That was a big meet for me,” said Boley, who threw a career best 147’4-3/4. “I’d been struggling to get a PR (personal record) in the discus. I think just being relaxed on our home turf and our own environment really helped, and Coach was cueing what I really needed to hear.”

That distance has Boley ranked 15th nationally leading into the “last chance” qualifier weekend. She has a strong chance to reach the NCAA meet, which will be held May 23-25 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Boley has a trio of national meet possibilities left in her career, and earning All-American honors is one of her goals. She also has her sights set on breaking the school record in the discus and possibly the shot put, as well. Four women – Alison Devor, Tanesha Hughes, Robinson and Karen Seeman – hold the Scots’ four outdoor throwing records. Should Boley manage to break not one, but two, Monmouth records, she’d be all alone in another exclusive club.

Choosing Alpha Xi Delta

As sure as Boley was about wanting to continue her successful athletic career at the next level, that’s also how certain she was that Greek life wouldn’t be a part of her experience in college.

“Absolutely not,” she said, when asked if joining a sorority was part of her college plans. “But I had a friend who went to Valparaiso, and she told me to just give recruiting week a try. I was on campus early for SOFIA (a summer research program), and my mentor was in Greek life.”

Once recruitment began, Boley’s feelings started to change.

“It’s built my confidence up a lot. I’m realizing what I want to do and the potential that I have.” – Maddie Boley

“I thought, ‘These people are really cool.’ It’s not how I envisioned it being. It was a long week, but it was fun. You get to meet a lot of people. When it came time to make my decision, I was pretty on edge. I called my mom, and she said ‘Give it a shot.’”

Boley pledged Alpha Xi Delta, and leadership roles have become the norm. She’s AXD’s vice president for membership and has been named, in order, president of Panhellenic Council, Order of Omega and Blue Key.

“It’s built my confidence up a lot,” said the health science and human movement major. “I’m realizing what I want to do and the potential that I have.”

Once she makes her final throw with the Scots next spring, Boley plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in exercise physiology and, ultimately, a doctorate, with the possible goal of teaching at a school like Monmouth.

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