HAMILTON — How far can a 10 year old throw a six pound metal ball? The answer is just over 23 feet, especially for young Eli Stidham of Hamilton, who participated in the Alabama State Games on Saturday, June 10, 2023, in Birmingham.
Stidham, who just graduated third grade at Hamilton Elementary School, was able to put 23 feet and five inches in the 9-10 year old boys shot put division, garnering him the number one slot in that division and the opportunity to attend the State Games of America in San Diego, Calif., next summer.
Stidham practiced for the shot put during track season and some this summer, according to his mother. For the State Games of America in July 2024, he said he was looking forward to competing and winning in such a large event as well as going to Sea World.
“There were thousands of athletes (at the Alabama Games) this year,” Eli’s grandfather Rodney Stidham explained. “There are a lot of categories from youth all the way up. If you win a medal, one of three, you qualify for the America State Games.”
Rodney also mentioned Eli had been practicing with a three and a half pound put for his age group but had decided to practice with a six pound put.
“Luckily, he and I were practicing with a six pound. I thought if he threw something heavier, it would be a little bit better.”
However, once Eli got to the state games, he realized he would be throwing a six pound put for keeps.
“It didn’t shock him that he was throwing a six pound,” Rodney added.
Rodney also mentioned while the second throw at 23 feet and five inches was the official result, Eli’s first throw came in at 23 feet and 10 inches.
Rodney told Eli before the state games began that he would be competing against many others and that they were just as good as he was.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry, Pawpaw. I’m going to win.’ So he won. We got in the car, and he was smiling from ear to ear. I asked him how it feels. He said, ‘Pawpaw, it feels great,’” Rodney laughed.
Besides track and field events, Eli participates in football, basketball and golf.
Eli is the son of Britney Stidham and the grandson of Rodney and Terena Stidham.
See complete story in the Journal Record.