Meet the NYU sophomore who broke a 23-year-old school record

Michelle Uvieghara broke a decades-old school track and field record with a discus throw of 40.15 meters.


(Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

Drew Abrutyn, Staff Writer

NYU’s discus throw record was set in 2000, and remained untouched — until last month, when the NYU track and field teams traveled to West Long Branch, New Jersey, for Monmouth University’s season opener. It was an impressive outing for the entire team, but Michelle Uvieghara, a sophomore, was the highlight of the event.

Uvieghara had been eyeing the NYU record for months. Last outdoor season, she had thrown 38.18 meters,  a meager 60 centimeters short of the school record, 38.78 meters, set by Fae Gibson 23 years ago. At this event, she went further, breaking the school record and throwing a massive 40.15 meters.

“It was an awesome feeling and was not something I expected to do,” Uvieghara told WSN. “The opening outdoor meet was just a great place for me to do it.”

In New Jersey, Uvieghara wasn’t alone in achieving new heights. Over the two-day meet, which took place on March 24 and March 26, at least six NYU athletes set personal records: Sophomore Sam Frank in the 1,500-meter run; senior Isre’al Conerly in the 100-meter dash; sophomore Summer Reid and first-years Travis Perry and Dasha Jackson in the 200-meter dash; and finally, with 48.26 meters, first-year Kai Aravena set his then-record in the javelin throw.

This, however, wasn’t Uvieghara’s first record. She has participated in track since she was elementary school — thanks to her mother, she says. In her senior year at her high school’s regional state championship, Uvieghara set the record at a staggering 34.14 meters.

When she first began participating in track events, Uvieghara was mainly a runner, but over the years, she gravitated towards throwing. By high school, it was her main focus.

“I liked to throw because I felt like I flew with the implement when I threw it,” she said. “I still get this feeling, like my heart’s flying, when I feel the release of a great throw.”

There were, however, times when she wanted to give up. Uvieghara left her high school team to practice independently and explore her other interests, but realized that she missed throwing and the community that being on a team provided.

“It was a combination of wanting to maintain a strong academic record and the stress that comes with such a huge commitment, since it’s one of the sports with the longest in-seasons,” she said. “It’s really when I joined the team my senior year that I realized how much I missed competing and being on a team. I have made amazing friends, especially the throwers on the team. I appreciate every single one of them endlessly. I’ve had an incredible throwing coach.”

And Uvieghara is not done yet.

“I absolutely believe I have further to throw,” she said.

Contact Drew Abrutyn at [email protected]