Stability hasn’t come easy for Brooklyn Mocilan, at least not until last fall. She had already attended three high schools, mostly in small towns, when she enrolled as a sophomore at Reynolds. The one constant in her young life was participating in athletics.
She tried out for the Demons basketball team but soon realized that it would be in her best interest to give up basketball in favor of track and field, that had won her heart in the seventh grade.
“I’ve been throwing the shot put and discus since the seventh grade,” Mocilan said. “I started at a middle school and then the school system where I went created an all-county team. I just really took a real interest in those two events.”
Mocilan said coming to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system was an eye-opener but she embraced the new challenge.
“There was not much difference in the competition at the school I first went to during my freshman year,” she said. “Here, in a bigger school system, the competition has a much wider variety. It’s much more competitive. The expectations at Reynolds are much higher, and I respect that.”
Even in a larger school system, there still aren’t a lot of girls who throw the shot put and discus. Tamara Smith is the only other female thrower on the Demons team. Mocilan admittedly doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer. Instead she takes a more philosophical approach. “It does go against the status quo,” she said.
“It’s not often you see females throwing the shot put or discus,” Mocilan said. “Shot put and discus are things I’m very passionate about. I know I’m (a) strong woman and can throw those.”
Mocilan also sees another advantage, a possible college scholarship, that she said reinforces her motivation to improve.
“Females throwing the shot put in college are such a rare thing,” she said. “Colleges love and adore that and want you in their college communities.”
The average person would assume that a person’s size would be crucial to being successful in heaving a 12-pound iron ball. Not true, according to Mocilan.
“People just look at me and realize I’m very strong,” she said. “It’s so much more than strength. It’s technique, time and effort. It’s important for girls to know that you don’t have to be a certain height or weight or strength to be able to throw the shot put or discus. It’s really all in technique. A very small girl out threw me at a meet. She was incredible.”
Mocilan said she began throwing the discus after trying the shot put.
“The techniques are almost similar but it’s the little differences that have completely thrown me off,” she said. “One wrong step and you can throw the discus completely out of bounds. You have to have the right coordination. In outdoors the wind can throw you off so you have to be aware of that, too. Typically I’ve never had a problem with discus although I have more skill in shot put than discus.”
The importance of technique is something she repeatedly stresses.
“People ask that question all the time,” Mocilan said. “It’s not something that can be learned overnight. In shot put I have to keep my chest up and arms wide. In discus it’s getting momentum when I’m spinning and making sure I’m going fast enough when I release it.”
Mocilan didn’t qualify for the NCHSAA Class 4-A Indoor Championships, a disappointment that she said motivates her to strive even harder during the outdoor season.
“It was a process coming to Reynolds with all the distractions coming my way,” she said, although she refused to use that as an excuse. “I was disappointed but that disappointment only makes me more motivated for outdoor season. The coaches all think I can get there with the motivation and determination that I have.
“I have to continue to be coachable and open-minded,” she continued. “I have to be open about suggestions others give me about my technique. I have to be 10 times more aggressive and focused on my goal and that is to make it to the regionals and states and continue to improve every year. Those are my personal goals. ”
Mocilan confessed she favors indoor track.
“I feel like the indoor environment feels more alive,” she said. “There’s more adrenaline. There’s all kinds of fun.”
She also said that warm weather can’t arrive soon enough for the outdoor season.
“We participated in the Queen City Relays in Charlotte and it was actually hailing,” she said. “The cold weather mainly affects your hands. You have a hard time gripping. I just say, ‘Brooklyn you have to suck it up’ when it’s cold.”
In spite of the obstacles she has faced, Mocilan stands firm in one belief. “Don’t let other people in this world have interference in what you want to do,” she said. “Do it because you love it.” Don’t be surprised if that dedication and passion lead to greater opportunities, perhaps even a field events scholarship to her dream college, North Carolina.