Back when Chelsie Meeks was in seventh grade, her father, Chris, the Rensselaer Middle School track coach at the time, brought a discus home from practice one day.
Little did he know it would be his daughter's ticket to college five years later.
"I started messing around and I just fell in love with it," Meeks said.
A two-time state medalist, Meeks signed her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to throw for Purdue, a short jaunt down I-65 from her home.
"I'm definitely really excited," Meeks said. "It's a relief to have the recruiting thing over with. Since I was little, Purdue was always the big school around here that everyone wanted to go. I didn't know that I'd ever go there to throw, so I'm really excited about the opportunity."
Meeks chose Purdue over IU and Wisconsin, though it was largely a one-horse race from the start. Boilermakers throws coach Keith McBride watched Meeks throw in a couple meets last season and was her first home visit. West Lafayette was also the first campus Meeks went to see.
"Purdue really stood out," she said. "Everything on my visit was just awesome. I really liked it. It's close enough to home, but also far enough away."
Purdue's chances weren't hurt by the fact that Meeks is trained by legendary throws coach Gene Edmonds. He coached at Purdue from 1991 to 1999 and the indoor track meet between Purdue and Indiana State is named the Edmonds Cup.
"I've had some great coaches," Meeks said.
Meeks hopes to become Edmonds' third Rensselaer pupil to win a state title in the discus. She placed fifth as a sophomore and was runner-up last year.
"I'm working toward that and a couple other records," Meeks said. "I don’t take much time off. I go to meets all summer and I train all year, so hopefully when the season starts, I'll be ready to go."
Purdue boasts one of the top throwing programs in the Big 10 and the country.