Give Champs a Shot


by Justin Friday

You may have seen them practicing in the hallways after school or at the track meets, doing what some may think is easy, though not everyone knows how difficult a skill it is to master. It’s the Oakdale shot put team, making waves throughout the track and field program! The shot put team is a part of track and field both indoor and outdoor and is host to several young and upcoming talents.

Coach Aaron Scanlon, head coach of the team, says that with several new throwers in the boy’s and girl’s teams, there is a lot to be hopeful for. Matthew Warner, a freshman who is already throwing 32 feet in his first year of throwing, shows a lot of raw potential for being a powerhouse in the meets to come, so expect to hear the name “Matthew Warner” on the varsity throwing list next year.

Coach Scanlon also emphasizes the talent and athleticism of Abby Stultz, a senior who claimed 2nd place during the indoor season despite the fact that she’s been throwing only since December! Scanlon also states that the future for the program looks bright, with 5 young freshman shot putters, (4 girl throwers and one male thrower) and that there is a lot to be anticipated in the coming years. In addition to these new athletes there are also athletes like Juniors Riley Gill and John Yacoubian who are anxious and ready to snag another championship prize for Oakdale.

Junior Riley Gill skillfully performs a glide throw.
Junior Riley Gill skillfully performs a glide throw.

Though the shot put program at Oakdale in general is rather new compared to other schools, there has still been a lot of change through these last couple years. Beginning with a very new and untrained first season, later seizing a state championship last year by Garrett Friday, it is now the team to watch this year, beaming with dedication and talent.

Some changes Coach Scanlon mentioned in his interview was that the team would focus less on Olympic weightlifting and focus more on event specific training, working on technique and workouts called “plyometric.”

“We intend to scrutinize much more on technique and form than ever before,” as stated by Coach Scanlon, also stating that 80% of their practice is done without even touching a shot put.

The impeccable routine that has been ingrained in the throwers’ minds is likely to stay for years to come.  Coach Scanlon says that it is the constant routine of their practices that will give any participant an ability to create and maintain stable patterns in other parts of life even into college. College freshman and former Oakdale thrower and football player Garrett Friday says that shot put forced him to learn time management, having to figure out what aspect of his throw need the most work and how much time he needed to dedicate to each aspect. It also taught him to be well rounded and expanded his view of athletics, allowing him to make new bonds and friends in the years he spent in the sport.

He states that shot putting in general is very much detail oriented and requires a lot of dedication and persistence since there is no other team in your way it is up to the thrower and only the thrower how far he can throw at any time. he compares it to football in a way that when you compete you’re not under the lights and you’re not out there to be the star of the team, in his words “the essence of shot put is self-improvement, failing over and over again keeping that motivation to improve in spite of every obstacle.”

However he also says that doesn’t stop shot putters from being extremely competitive, even between fellow teammates! He in fact credits his state champ title to his friendly competitive spirit with his friends and fellow shot putters like Donovan Burris, constantly challenging the other to improve.

“It isn’t for everyone” he says “It takes a lot of self-sacrifice and dedication, you need to be patient and hardworking and put 110% in everything you do and that isn’t for everyone either”.

These students, who put so much of their time and effort into shot put every day, somehow finding a way to balance school, family, and academics while still having time to relax,. And still some strive in other fields of athletics much like shot put thrower Riley Gill who is simultaneously throwing 102’ feet in discus and is likely to continue excelling in both events. Please show these amazing athletes some support so their amazing improvements can be recognized. In the keen wording of coach Scanlon: “Success breeds recognition.