WESTERLY — A year ago, Westerly High senior Megan Albamonti had never thrown a javelin in a high school track meet.
Now she finds herself headed to the University of Delaware with a partial athletic track scholarship to compete for the Division I Blue Hens of the Colonial Athletic Conference.
It's been quite the year.
Albamonti has been a three-sport star at the school since her freshman year, competing in volleyball, basketball and softball. She was All-State in all three sports last season. She was the leading hitter on the softball team, the leading scorer on the basketball team and the top hitter on the volleyball team.
She gave the javelin a try last spring after longtime track coach Dave Federico told her she had the potential to excel in the event.
Was he ever right.
Albamonti won the state title with a throw of 124 feet, 7 inches to help the Bulldogs to the state championship. She finished seventh at New Englands, missing All-New England honors by less than 2 feet.
When it came time to consider colleges, she and her mother, Trish, met with the Delaware track coach during a visit to the school last summer.
"They wanted to see film and stayed in contact with me through the rest of the summer," Albamonti said.
St. John's was also interested, but she said Delaware "resonated within me, athletically and academically."
"Delaware was always my top choice," Albamonti said.
Alabamonti was accepted into the honors college at Delaware, which has a top-notch biology program. Albamonti, who takes Westerly's most challenging courses and carries a 4.2 GPA, has a long-term career goal of being an orthopedic surgeon.
She was the Rhode Island girls winner of the Wendy's Heisman this year, a scholarship program that recognizes "proven leaders and role models within their school and community," according to the program's website.
As for the javelin, Albamonti plans to keep working to better herself during the outdoor season in the spring.
"I definitely want to show the improvements I've made over the summer. I am not concerned about placement, just making sure I am focusing on my technique," Albamonti said. "I worked a lot on my footwork and understanding where my body was [during throws]."
She has thrown in the 140-foot range during workouts, an improvement of about 15 feet from last spring. The winning throw at last year's New England meet was 143-3.
She is also open to expanding to other events, like the discus, at Delaware. She added that she's uncertain whether she will compete in that event for Westerly this year, but plans to give it a try in practice.
Soon, Albamonti will finish a highly successful athletic career at the school.
What has she learned along the way?
"There is definitely always room to improve — your game, your attitude, your mentality," Albamonti said. "I learned hard work will definitely help you go places. Most importantly, you have to put the team before yourself and know your role on each team."
And what advice would she give to someone entering the school in the fall?
"I would definitely say each and every day you have to work your hardest no matter what team you are on, freshman, JV or varsity," Albamonti said. "Freshman year there can be a lot of highs and lows. If you are in a low spot, stay true to yourself and talk to your teammates. Everything will pay off in the end.
"All these sports have been a big part of my life, and I will definitely miss playing them. Throughout my four years I have had the opportunity to have some good experiences."