|Sport||Track & Field|
From the day Dave Wollman started recruiting Teri (Steer) Cantwell, the Southern Methodist coach told her she’d be an NCAA champion and an Olympian.
So no, Wollman isn’t surprised by anything Cantwell accomplished over her illustrious career in track and field.
Cantwell, from Crete, won four straight Class B shot put and discus titles, including three consecutive all-class gold medals in the shot. She was also named The World-Herald’s Girls High School Athlete of the Year in 1993.
She was a two-time NCAA shot put champion at Southern Methodist and was the 2002 U.S. indoor and outdoor champion as well as a 1999 world indoor bronze medalist. Cantwell also competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. She holds personal bests of 63 feet in the shot put and 198-1 in the discus.
Cantwell, a 2000 inductee into the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame, is still second all time among Nebraska high schoolers in the shot put with a throw of 50-10¾ in 1993. That stood as the state record until 1997, and Cantwell is still one of two girls in state history to top 50 feet in the shot. She was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
“She has tremendous self-esteem in every area of her life, and she just had every ingredient you could want in a student-athlete,” Wollman said. “I just knew she was going to be successful.”
Wollman said one of the lasting influences Cantwell had on the program at SMU was her shattering any lingering perceptions that women shouldn’t train with the same intensity as men, and Cantwell echoed that sentiment.
“I think a lot of women are afraid of a sport like ours because you do have to be strong,” Cantwell said. “Some women are afraid of being a little bit bigger, but you can be strong and athletic and still be feminine. I preach that to every young girl I come across.”
Cantwell, who retired from professional competition in 2005, is married to Olympic shot putter Christian Cantwell, who placed fourth at the 2012 London Games. She’s coached collegiately at Oklahoma State, SMU and Missouri.
Played for: Crete High, Southern Methodist Mustangs and U.S. Olympic team
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Bloomfield native Tressa Thompson, a 10-time All-American at Nebraska from 1994 through 1998. "It's pretty cool to have had a great athlete from your home state that you've competed against from high school all the way up to the world-class level," Steer said.
Best moment as an athlete: "Walking into the Olympic Stadium in 2000. It was just an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and of a dream coming true."
Cantwell was No. 60 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »