Recruiting Thursday: Hempfield Area's Tapper commits to Michigan

The Spartans track and field star captured PIAA and WPIAL titles last spring

Thu Nov 03, 2022 - 6:01PM

Jack Ridenour Jack Ridenour
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Last Updated: Fri Nov 04, 2022 - 12:15AM

The Hempfield Area track and field program has been known to produce some of the top athletes from the WPIAL. Many of these athletes have gone on to compete at the NCAA Division I level.

Senior discus and shot put thrower Liz Tapper recently became another Spartan who will continue her track and field career at the Division I level. The reigning WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A throwing champion recently committed to the University of Michigan.

“Michigan was always my number one school,” said the future Wolverine. “When I went there, it was the best of both worlds, academically and athletically. The coaches and athletes I met on my visit were all amazing people. There weren’t really any negatives to Michigan; I liked everything.”

The decision to attend the Big Ten university wasn’t an easy one for Tapper. She chose Michigan over a number of other top tier programs such as Duke, Penn State, and Maryland. Ultimately, she felt the most connected to the Ann Arbor campus of Michigan and what the school had to offer.

Tapper’s recruitment drastically increased this past spring after a number of impressive performances.

“After WPIALs, I started to make some connections in the discus and the shot, as well,” she commented on her spring performance that propelled her to the national stage. “I had just seen that little bit of improvement. That improvement was enough to see a change in my numbers.”

After hurling 147-7 at the WPIAL meet to capture the gold medal, she followed up with an even better performance a few weeks later.

“I jumped from that 150-range to that 160-165 range. That jump allowed me to secure that state and national title. That improvement after WPIALs definitely did it for me,” Tapper noted on her increase in throwing numbers.

Tapper’s throwing dominance continued to shine when she competed at the National meet that took place at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

After her 153-foot discus performance in the PIAA meet that landed her a gold medal, she followed it up by increasing her distance by 10 total feet at nationals.

“I had thrown 153 at states, and then between states and nationals, I had a little bit of a break after the long season,” Tapper added. “When I got to the national meet, it was like a reset. I threw 163, so it was a 10-foot improvement from state to nationals. I think that little break in between did it.”

The time off proved to be beneficial, as she claimed a gold medal at the national meet. However, the work wouldn’t stop there for the national champion thrower.

“A lot of strength training, a lot of lifting, and a lot of technical aspects of the throw,” Tapper mentioned about what she focused on in the late spring and early summer. “We took the summer and realized this is an opportunity to get stronger and to fix some things I needed to work on in season.”

There’s still one season left for Tapper in her high school track and field career as a Hempfield Spartan. She wants to continue to build off of her strong junior season before heading off to Ann Arbor to compete for the Wolverines.

“I’m excited for the change,” said Tapper on what she’s anticipating when she heads to Michigan. “I’m excited to compete at a higher level. I’m also excited to have new teammates, but also have the people back home supporting me through it all, as well.”