Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Borges made her mark at Minster
By Robb Hemmelgarn
Jodi Borges hasn't heaved a shot put or spun a discus at the high school level for more than 15 years, but her name and records have withstood the test of time since she left Minster in 1998, where she established herself as the best thrower to ever work her way through the school's storied track and field program.
As a freshman in 1995, Borges debuted for a program that hadn't produced a state champion in shot or discus in nearly 20 years, but she was determined to change that over the next four seasons. She went on to capture the Midwest Athletic Conference title in the discus that season with a throw of 117-feet, an accomplishment which was a sample of what was in store for her competition for the next three seasons.
"I think winning the MAC as a freshman was a big accomplishment," Borges explained. "It was definitely something that was a goal at the beginning of the year, but to actually obtain it was kind of shocking. It definitely made me want to retain that title in the future."
As a sophomore, Borges duplicated her league crown in the discus and, for good measure, added the shot put medal to it as well. Although the MAC titles were great, her sights were fixed on bigger things after that, and she wanted to expand the family trophy case which her older brothers Tony, Don, and Ron had filled with shot and discus awards following outstanding careers of their own.
"It definitely felt good to retain that title and add the discus title to it as well," she pointed out. "My brothers certainly had a huge impact on my throwing career, especially my brother Don. He helped me so much with coaching, guidance, and encouragement, aspects of the sport that went above and beyond what would be expected from a brother."
In 1997, Borges grabbed MAC titles in both events yet again, and for the first time in her career, made a splash at the state track and field meet where she garnered the top spot in the shot put with a throw of 41-10 ¾, becoming the first Wildcat female to ever win the event as well as the first to do it in from the MAC since Bev Obringer from Marion Local accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons in 1983 and 1984. She also placed fourth in the discus in Columbus.
"It was an amazing feeling to win state my junior year," Borges said. "It was definitely more intimidating with the competition being so much stiffer and the event in Columbus on such a grander scale. The MAC titles felt great before that, but winning a state title was amazing."
As a senior, Borges continued to eclipse the school records that she had established for herself previously throughout her career and shut down her career with a bang. By the time the spring of 1998 rolled into the early summer, Borges owned the school mark in both events and also picked up her third straight MAC trophy in the shot, making it a clean sweep of the league's discus title with her fourth gold medal. She also went on to claim the Division III shot put title for the second year in a row at the state meet in Columbus.
"It was hard knowing that my career in Minster was over," Borges admitted. "It is such a great community that has given me so much support over the years. However, I knew there was more to experience in college and I knew the Minster community would be behind me the whole way."
Although her career at Minster was in the rearview mirror, Borges' knack for first-place finishes and breaking records wasn't. She headed to the University of Dayton, where her impact was felt immediately when she was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in 1999 - the same season she won her first of four A-10 outdoor shot put titles from 1999-2002. She was also a two-time winner of the league's outdoor discus crown and a three-time A-10 champion in the indoor shot put. She also placed third as a freshman in the junior nationals. At the end of her career, she was just six inches shy of qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Today, she still holds both the indoor and outdoor shot put record at the university.
"I received quite a few letters and phone calls from various colleges like Bowling Green and Ohio State, but I loved the coaching staff and the UD community couldn't be beat," Borges remarked. "The biggest difference between throwing in high school and in college that I noticed was the weight training and throwing 12 months out of the year, instead of three or four months. It was quite an adjustment, but I was ready for it and had a lot of fun through my career."
Borges no longer competes in the concrete circles but still catches a handful of track and field meets in Minster, where her brother Don is the junior high head coach. Although she has no plans to coach in the near future, she won't discredit the possibility.
"Nowadays I am a registered nurse in the operating room at Wilson Memorial Hospital. I catch a few meets when I can and have been asked to coach, but my schedule was always so crazy. I definitely wouldn't count it out in the future though," she explained. "Being an athlete has opened so many doors for me in so many ways. It has helped me with connections, confidence, and furthering my career, so I would love to give back to the sport that has given me so much over the years."