Clemson University Feature Stories

When Brittney Waller, left, isn't throwing a discus or hammer for Clemson's track and field team, she's working in the fields on her agricultural education degree.

Determined to excel at athletics and academics

By Haley Sulka, Class of 2013
Creative Services

When Brittney Waller isn’t throwing a discus 160 feet, she’s cultivating her interest in agriculture — and exceeding in both.

While not everyone can be great at both school and sports, Waller believes that she can’t do without either.

“I wouldn’t be able to be successful in track if I wasn’t successful in the classroom. If I looked at my academics, I would say that it correlates with how my athletics is going.”

The agricultural education major has accumulated numerous achievements during her college career. She won All-ACC in both the hammer and weight throw in 2010, and was a 2011 NCAA Qualifier in the weight throw. She was named All-ACC after placing second in the hammer throw in the 2013 outdoor ACC Championships, and has eight ACC rings, among many other recognitions.

Brittney can throw a 20-pound weight more than 66 feet. She can throw a discus or a hammer about three times as far.

Even more impressive than her physical strength is her mental strength, and she understands that sacrifices come with being a student-athlete.

“My freshman year someone told me that I was going to be great at two out of the three things: academics, athletics and social life; I was willing to get rid of my social life.”

This forces Waller to be very intentional in how she spends the social opportunities she has; sometimes it is hanging out with close friends, and other times it’s doing service work. While she doesn’t live the typical college life, it has all been worth it for her.

Off the track, Waller is surrounded by classmates who grew up in 4-H or Future Farmers of America. While she wasn’t involved in either, her interest in agricultural education was sparked from growing up on her family’s farm.

“Agricultural education is really challenging; it’s a science-based major, so for every class I have a lab,” she said. “It helps that I truly enjoy what I’m learning.”

In fact, she enjoys it so much that she took on 20 credit hours in the fall semester, which is significantly more than the required minimum 12 hours for student-athletes. As impressive as Waller’s academic and athletic workload is, her humility stands out even more.

“I couldn’t take credit for being here without my relationship with the Lord and allowing it to grow through the past four years.”

As her collegiate career comes to an end, Waller’s determination to excel is not easing up. Her next move is to get her master’s degree in agricultural education in Clemson’s graduate program.

In the future, she hopes to apply her love for serving people to a career in agricultural public relations. With her competitive and tender nature, Waller is sure to go further than all of her throws combined.


Know a determined Clemson spirit who you’d like to see us write about? Contact University writer Crystal Boyles at boyles@clemson.edu.


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