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Picture of Abby Toole-Plummer
East County Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 4 years ago

Picture of Health with Abby Toole-Plummer

Athletics has played a pivotal role in Abby Toole-Plummer’s life for as long as she can remember.
by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

Athletics has played a pivotal role in Abby Toole-Plummer’s life for as long as she can remember. 

Growing up, Toole-Plummer spent countless hours hitting balls on the tennis court or shooting hoops in the gymnasium of Albrook Air Force Base and Fort Clayton Army Base, both in Panama, with her father, Jim Higley, who also served as her high school basketball coach. 

Toole-Plummer takes after her father genetically, so it was only natural for her to follow in her father’s footsteps. At 75 years old, Higley still plays a couple sets of tennis every day. 

“I grew up in a family that played tennis together every Friday night,” said Toole-Plummer, who teaches TV production and coaches girls cross-country at Braden River High School. “I’ve always been active. I don’t know anything else but to be active.” 

On the Run 

Toole-Plummer initially started running to get in shape for basketball season. Early on, Toole-Plummer sat the bench a lot at Montreat College and would run around the gymnasium before games. She hasn’t stopped since. 

“I feel guilty if I don’t run,” Toole-Plummer said. 

Toole-Plummer runs between four and five miles a day throughout Greenbrook and Summerfield. She typically runs the same route.

“I used to have a watch or timer on when I run, but now I just know about how long I’ve run and go farther if I feel like I can,” Toole-Plummer said. 

But while Toole-Plummer enjoys distance running the most, she doesn’t have aspirations of running any road races anytime soon. 

“I like running four to five miles and maintaining a healthy lifestyl,” she said. “I run so I can eat.” 


Mixing it Up 

Toole-Plummer began incorporating strength training into her workout regimen about six months ago. While she doesn’t enjoy it as much as running, she understands its importance and has started making it a priority. Toole-Plummer spends roughly 25 minutes a day either lifting light weights or doing core and pushups. She rotates between the two regimens, using weights for upper body strength twice a week and doing core and pushups three days a week. 

On the day that she’s not running, Toole-Plummer can be found with a frisbee in hand. She began playing Ultimate Frisbee about six years ago when a couple in church asked her to join a pickup game. Toole-Plummer  now plays alongside her husband, Mike, at the Lakewood Ranch High recreational fields with the Bradenton Sarasota Ultimate Frisbee group, which Toole-Plummer organizes. The group now has close to 300 members. 

“If you like to get a great workout and can throw a frisbee, it could be something that is pretty easy to pick up,” she said. 


Multi-Sport Star 

Toole-Plummer was a three-sport star in high school, playing tennis, basketball and volleyball for Balboa High School, in Panama. Toole excelled at all three sports, but the basketball court is where she felt she truly shined. 

It wasn’t until Toole-Plummer, who earned a scholarship to play basketball at Montreat College, in North Carolina, was approached by Montreat College’s women’s tennis coach about playing tennis for the Cavaliers. 

“They hadn’t really had any good tennis players there in awhile,” Toole-Plummer said. “I just couldn’t give up basketball though, so I ended up doing both.”

Toole-Plummer joined the staff at Braden River eight years ago and was named the Pirates girls tennis coach in 2010. She spent four years coaching Braden River before stepping down two years ago to focus solely on cross-country. 

Toole-Plummer would often hit with players, but she’s rarely steppe onto the tennis court since. 

“Tennis is a hard sport to find someone that’s equal or better than you,” Toole-Plummer said. “I’m not the greatest tennis player out there by any means, but I’m not a casual exerciser. It’s difficult to find someone that’s going to give you a workout.” 

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