Thursday, April 12, 2012

Throwers dominate

By Brandon Adam, Guest Reporter

The throwers of Pacific Lutheran’s track and field team have had a high performance season so far.

They contribute their successful season to consistent practice, a positive throwing atmosphere, and good coaching. Methods include practice schedule, competition between players and coaching philosophy.

“Throwers come out rain or shine,” junior thrower Ryan Ransavage said. “We’re not fair-weather throwers.”

Ransavage and sophomore Kyle Peart are having successful throwing seasons.

In the hammer throw, Peart leads the conference with Ransavage in second. The men’s throwers have consistently thrown the hammer more than 50 meters.

“You’re not competing against other people, you’re competing against your teammates,” Ransavage said. “So you’re getting better every day.”

The competitive nature of practice is beneficial to junior Jorgina Moore, who is throwing hammer for the first time this year. Last year, Moore ran sprints and track.

“With girls it’s different because I’m usually the only girl out there that throws,” Moore said, “but it makes me want to throw as far as the guys are throwing.”

Moore’s personal best in the hammer throw was 39.55 meters at the University of Puget Sound meet.

Lute throwers also credit the coaching of Coach Dan Haakenson to their successes.

“He’s pretty much the only person that really taught me how to throw the hammer,” Moore said. “He’s just really easy to communicate with.”

Haakenson makes the throwers get the most out of their practice.

“The secret to success in throws is atmosphere,” Haakenson said. “You have a good athlete and it raises the expectations of all the other athletes around you.”

Haakenson describes his method as “building a chain” in the practice atmosphere which pushes the throwers to throw farther. “Then when freshmen come into that system, they become another link in that chain,” Haakenson said.

Haakenson elaborates that raising the bar in throwing challenges the newer throwers to set their goals higher.

“Instead of coming into a system where you think a certain mark is standard, you just aim a little bit higher,” Haakenson said.

Haakenson said he prefers to have the throwers practice at different times to keep them active.

“I coach in groups of four or five to keep it rolling so people aren’t standing around,” Haakenson said.

Different practice times are especially important for the hammer throwers, who are the largest group on the Track and Field team.

“There are two hammer sessions in a day,” Haakenson said. “So I try to split that group up.”

Haakenson also considers the class and work schedule of the throwers when determining their practice meet ups.