In our Gordy's Athlete of the Week, we meet Altoona junior Kali Belonga, a track and field standout who hopes to reach the highest levels of her sport and she is well on her way to doing just that.
Kali Belonga/Altoona Thrower: "I've set a lot of goals for myself, I just want to push myself as far as I can because I want to succeed be at the top of the podium this year..."
As a sophomore last year at the WIAA state Track and Field meet, Altoona's Kali Belonga reached the podium in both the Division 2 shot put and discus throw, placing third in the shot and sixth in the disc. A year later, Kali has already surpassed her top throws from 2011 and has captured first place in both the discus and shot put in last Friday's Rice Lake meet and at Tuesday's Eau Claire North invite. Belonga says two years of state tournament experience has helped tremendously.
Kali: "Throwing at the state meet is a lot different than throwing at Rice Lake, or even Bloomer, usually only have five people watching but at the state meet there's like a hundred people watching you, it's nerve-wracking but it gets you excited."
Kali has had plenty to be excited this spring, she threw 134-feet 4-inches in the discus at Rice Lake last Friday and she had a personal shot put best, 43-feet, 2-and a half inches at yesterday's meet at north high.
Kali: "Being there watching the other girls throw you feed off of the other girls' energy, when one person gets a good throw, all want to push yourselves to throw farther. "
A multi-sport athlete, kali also plays volleyball, carries a 4.0 grade point average and is thinking about studying pre-med. Being active in sports has been a huge positive in the classroom...
Kali: "It helps me manage my time, can't procrastinate, can't wait to do something, have to get it done."
Belonga's coaches says Kali is a major asset to the Rails program, a role model for other kids to look up to.
Breanna Winsand/Altoona Track Coach: "Very rewarding to have an athlete like that on the team, especially someone who is as dedicated and committed as kali, kids look up to her not only in track but as she is as a student, couldn't ask for anything more from an athlete."